Echolalia means repeating back (echo-) things that are said (-lalia). In a toddler, this means that you would say something to them, and they’d repeat it back to you. It doesn’t mean they would necessarily keep repeating themselves, although this is very common too. It means, for example, that you ask, “What do you want?” and instead of answering you, they respond with “What do you want?” Or they  parrot you around like when you say, “Look, there’s the stop sign” and they echo, “There’s the stop sign.”

In a normal developing toddler, echolalia is salient, climaxing around 30months of age. The child may even go through seasons where the repeating back of a specific question or answer is heightened but then abates, then comes back again. They may also generally be your echo as you talk to them throughout the day. Echolalia works in tandem with memory, which is usually at peak at this time too.  You will probably find your child able to memorize long songs, books, or videos.  Repeating what you or characters say is part of normal language development as they pick up new things to say, or new things to ask, and find it stimulating. They can repeat like a broken record, driving you crazy sometimes, or asking the same things over and over again even if they don’t need to. Especially, “What’s that?” But it seems to help the brain cement the concept somehow, and just when you think it will never go away, it does. (Usually being replaced by something else!)

Another thing is, children learn language by repeating you because they don’t have the experience of responding to you. They have third person experience—the experience of hearing you initiate conversation with them. So they use what they have heard most often.  Or they repeat back what they have just heard, as sort of an acknowledgment that they heard you. In fact, if your toddler did not echo you at all, that would indicate possibly a problem in hearing or a problem with expressive language.

It is not the intensity of the echolalia that is necessarily a problem. It is the pervasiveness. If the child doesn’t learn to answer your questions at all or respond to any of your statements, but only repeats them back to you, that is a problem. If you don’t hear  vocabulary expanding over time, or if they never seem to add on new information, that is also a problem. You should get the sense that your toddler is listening to your responses (most of the time), and that she is thinking about what you say.

As echolalia abates, your child should eventually learn how to say something easy like “ok” or “yeah!” when you tell her something new as opposed to repeating back your statement/question. (My two-year old’s favorite response is, “ohhh, right!”). They should also be able to answer “no” to things they don’t want when you ask; “yes” usually follows, sometimes months later. If your toddler is nearing three years old without some pronoun reversals (“my” and “your” often come first, or “me” and “you”), then this is a concern. Using their own name instead of “I,” however, is usually not. Neither is gender, which can take until 4 or 5 to get right.  If the repeating seems mindless, he can’t initiate any first-person language (I want, I need, I see…), or he repeats something you tell him but doesn’t react appropriately (i.e. “No, we’re going out now. Come on…” and he echoes “Come on” but doesn’t move), it may indicate a hearing or receptive language problem. Another big red flag is echolalia but not responding to their name. Or not turning to pay attention to you when you speak.

And yet I reiterate: the main concern is not how often your toddler repeats, but if it is the majority of his speech without growing out of it. You want to watch for the repeating to change into responding over time, rather than just getting more complex in the ability to repeat.  Your toddler repeating whole sentences instead of just the last two words you say is still echolalia.  You are looking for evidence of processing or thought.  And you want to watch for your toddler being able to initiate novel speech with you.  If she is able to proactively engage you with something she’s thinking about (not something scripted), that shows she can both receive (formulate in the head) language and express it.  Even if the grammar is bad or truncated, echolalia is fine as long as more complex responses are possible in at least some areas and your toddler can initiate speech in at least some cases without phrases they’ve just memorized. And as long as they are not non-sequitor. (i.e. they’re not answering “where’s your jacket?” when you ask, “How was school today?” because they’re used to you asking that type of question around this time.)  Whereas your young toddler may use stock nouns, questions, or phrases she’s heard to account for about 90% of her vocabulary, it shouldn’t stay that way. I wish I could say that by eighteen months, twenty-four, or thirty months, that she should have graduated to a certain level, but it differs too widely from child to child to say for sure. Generally, echolalia should drop to just a fraction of their overall word usage over their first year of talking (whenever that starts).

Here’s a brief list of ok reasons why toddlers repeat:

  • Sometimes it is the easiest thing to do, rather than think of novel things to say.
  • Sometimes they are just bored, stressed, afraid, or want to make conversation and don’t know how.
  • Sometimes they are just practicing things they know.
  • Sometimes they are not listening to your response; their mouth is on, but their ears aren’t
  • Sometimes they don’t understand your response, and so they ask again.
  • Sometimes they haven’t totally mastered a concept yet, even though it seems they have.
  • Sometimes what you said is pleasing to the ear, or pleasing to say.
  • Sometimes they are just mimicking you the way they would mimic other things you do.  Two-year olds especially learn by memorizing and mimicking.
  • Often times they haven’t learned the appropriate response. They need a storehouse of things to say before they can actually initiate something intelligent, and they need to hear you model first person speech so they can mimic. Don’t be afraid to put words in your toddler’s mouth when you suspect they don’t know what to say. Even if you’re wrong, they’ll soon be able to correct you or at least say, “No” which is good.
  • Sometimes they are thinking out loud. They repeat something over and over because they’re verbalizing their thoughts.  They may repeat until they make a decision, at which point they’ll say what that decision is, or answer their own question.
  • Sometimes they haven’t mastered pronoun reversal yet, so it sounds like they are echoing you but are really asking reflexively. (i.e. they mean “What do I want?” instead of “What do you want?”) At some point, they will learn to change pronouns and you see they are simply thinking aloud, or asking themselves. I prompted my toddlers by saying, “I want…” and letting them fill in the blank.
  • Many times the reactions they get when they say things make it rewarding to keep repeating, even if they don’t need to. (i.e. most toddlers crave the great attention they get when they yell, “NO!” or when they ask academic questions, like “What letter is this?” and the busy parent suddenly takes interest to answer.)

So you can see from the above list why–except for the last reason—echolalia should drop off. Gradually, as the child learns more language and cognition skills, they are able to get to the responses they need, rather than relying on words and formulations they have already heard and memorized.  My three and a half year old, for example, still has phrases he memorized from me when he was two years old and every now and then gets into repeating what I say.  But his additional vocabulary and responses have grown enormously.  He doesn’t use scripted speech in order to formulate what he wants to say.  I have no concern that he can’t receive or express language because he is sky-high from where he was at two and a half.  If you don’t know whether your child’s echolalia is normal, keep a list of what he/she repeats. See if it changes in a couple months. If it doesn’t, and if new vocabulary or responses are not coming, then I’d ask somebody about it or consider calling Early Intervention for an evaluation. Especially if you have an older toddler (closer to 3) rather than a younger one. It can’t hurt.

Addendum: don’t confuse echolalia with your toddler’s initiating conversation by asking a well-known question. Echolalia is responding to your question with the same question. Toddlers love to get your attention by asking you a question you would normally ask, like “What’s this?” or “What color?” This is not echolalia. It is simply their way of engaging you, as in, “Hey Mommy, I want to talk to you.”


80 thoughts on “Echolalia

  1. So people have been asking me when echolalia should stop. This is difficult to answer. Like I said, it should peak around 30months. If by 35 months you are not seeing graduation, I’d get tested by Early Intervention before they turn 36months. Then you can get an expert opinion and referral to special needs preschool.

  2. Exceptionally helpful piece, thank you. My 27 month old daughter echos what I say (especially questions)all the time, and can recite entire long books. The first 20 pages I found were in relation to autism, and didn’t discuss “normal” echolalia enough to give me an idea of whether I should be concerned. She initiates conversations and can answer yes (recently) and no thank you(for ages), has an extensive vocabulary and is very interactive, so it sounds like it is not a concern. Thank you again.

  3. One thing I would like to add is the role that other children, and child-level speech, plays in helping your child learn to respond. We had intervention for the first child, and I think that helped because:

    1. He had no models of what speech would look like around him. He was a firstborn and did not have much time with older/peer friends to help model.
    2. We started him on videos really early so I think he might have gotten a wrong perception about speech (like it was for labelling instead of communicating).
    2. We interacted with him mostly like teachers and adults, not enough peering.

    We would even tell him to say things, but that doesn’t work, you have to get into the child’s world and verbalize what they might want to verbalize. Don’t tell him something is a car. Or ask him to say car.” Wait until he plays with the car, and then say “car” and when he drives it say “Let”s drive the car.” If you narrate their play it helps them.

  4. Gosh you’re good. My daughter has echolalia at 3, teachers were worried, had her checked by a battery of psychologists and specialists. Nothing conclusive, she is too young, bilingual, stressful move to another climate/country/languages,wait, wait, wait.
    A year and another school later, the teacher notices she doesn’t dress herself as good as the other europeans and seems to be poor at running…I figured well, I’m southeast asian we don’t believe in independence before 6. We carry our children around until we can. So, yeah, not worried about that. That can be worked on. This was the focus of the teacher–no mention of echolalia and problems with responses, suddenly end of school year, the teacher is suddenly rushing to get her diagnosed and was convinced she has something because she keeps to herself and doesn’t seem to react to the other children.

    whereas earlier the year, I keep on asking her if she plays with other children and she said yes and mentioned some names. Now she’s saying she has not integrated. I don’t know if she’s panicking because my daughter is no longer responsive to her that she wants it to be my daughter’s fault when my daughter moves to another teacher or that she lied about my daughter being ok at the beginning or my daughter deteriorated. Now she’s saying my daughter has echolalia and has social and motor problems. Just now. So the shrinks came–same thing, nothing conclusive, wait a year, no need for any testing…seems to be a kind of selective mutism where she isn’t actually mute–so maybe not. Same thing as before except now she talks more, this and that. The teacher is ashamed of making a mistake, relieved that there is some name to what my daughter has even if it’s not really a diagnosis. I’m just in shambles. I don’t know who and what to believe. So your articles really help especially this one.

    She plays with one boy who lives near us and recently became her playmate. He doesn’t speak english but understands. Has a malaysian playmate who is 7 who speaks fluent english with bad grammar. I think my daughter is language delayed naturally she’s been exposed to as much as 5 different languages before 3 and she lives in a biligual home where each family member has a different english accent. Everybody around her seems to be in some other language.

    Do you think this anxiety with the language is causing her social problems in school? ( which by the way is an international school, a mix of children who speak fluent english of different accents with non-english speaking children who were put there to learn english) She seems fine at home but does seem to be reluctant answering certain questions and pretends not to hear you. I also notice her attempt to make friends but seems to not be successful. I don’t know if it’s inexperience (which maybe the case because being new in a country doesn’t make it easy to find friends) or some disability.

    We are moving to NYC next year and hoping the social anxiety and language problem will be fixed since everybody speaks the same language in generally the same accent. What do you think?

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  6. I have a 3 year old who repeats and shakes things in her hands while pacing. I have been told it is a sensory disorder and we have been referred to a autistic center. She is not completely potty trained and when starting a bowel movement seems to instigate the “shaking”. She has no other symptoms. Do we take the object away and allow the fit or do we allow her to
    “shake”? She often repeats stories or shows. Not directly after.

  7. Sounds within range of “normal” to me. Lots of kids repeat at 3yrs, have self-stimulating rituals, and have sensory issues (hiding, waving hands around, etc) with toileting. She is still young and the sensory therapy will help. As long as her communication style is normal, the OT alone should yield results.

    Depending on the exact nature of the shaking/fits, I might treat it like thumb-sucking… allow it but try to wean gradually. If you stop the fits cold turkey, it can cause anxiety. But perhaps with substitution, you could get to the place where she only shakes when she needs to have a bowel movement, at which point I’d stick her on the toilet so she makes a clear association. You want her to think: it’s not the shaking which is bad but the urge which needs to be taken care of. As she toilet trains more completely, she’ll feel control over it which will make it disappear.

  8. Thank you for responding. We have officially potty trained since my last post. The shaking and pacing still seem to occur. We have tried a timer to have her let go of the object and it is usually replaced with another after awhile she starts to give up and will self play. It seems as soon as she loses our attention or needs to use the restroom it starts. Thanks for the suggestions.

  9. This sounds like what my gut is telling me. I have a grandmother who taught challenged pre-schoolers for 30+ yrs, and she is convinced the echolalia we see in my almost 4 year old is a problem – even insisted on autism screening – but he continues to change the exact wording all the time, incorporating new vocabulary and characters and places. It much more seems like he is thinking out loud, finding the just right word for what he wants to describe. If he gets really stuck, i often find a picture in my head that i give a word to and he continues with his sentence. He gets mad when we interrupt him, (stop him from starting over, or repeat his phrase with a question sound at the end) so patience has been difficult, but my gut feeling is that even though this continues, it’s developing. The one year he was in preschool (at 2 years old) his teacher said that he was easy to supervise because he says what he’s doing outloud all the time. I think he’s just modeling that “teacher” behavior that he saw me do (first born, I have classroom experience, etc.). The parent who mentioned peer commnuication hit a note I hadn’t identified yet. Thank you. This is great information! Reassuring that despite all the expert evaluation, my gut instinct is not that far off.

  10. Thank you very very much. It is so hard not knowing what is normal with the first one. My DS has speach delay and this repeating starting may actually be a sign that he is progressing! I’ve also relised some aspects of speach that I’m not modelling well (use of I and you), so that is useful too. It is nice to know that it isn’t automatically autism.

  11. I have a 3 year old girl who sometimes repeats a question after me. I know if I ask her something like “do you need to go potty?” It’s mostly avoidance. Sometimes she just says the last word. Sometimes she will pick out an interesting new word. She also repeats more commonly if she is stressed like at preschool or a situation she is uncomfortable with. She has bad separation anxiety.

    I have never heard her parrot something out of context. She does not repeat shows, radio, or over heard conversations.

    My father is Norwegian and he uses some Norwegian words around her. She knows a few but they are only spoken in his presence. So she understands certain words have meaning to certain people and not to others.

    I wonder if this should have passed by now?

  12. I have been reading comments regarding echolalia and toe-walking and as a pediatric speech-language pathologist would like to suggest that you please avoid trying to diagnose your child by reading articles on the internet. I know it is every mom’s worst fear that their child has autism. But those who are high functioning are very successful, functioning people…doctors, engineers… Therefore, it is not a death sentence and early intervention can only HELP.

    These are the “MYTHS” of autism spectrum disorder: 1)Individuals with autism never make eye contact; they do not look at you. 2)Autism is a mental illness. 3)Progress means a person doesn’t have autism. 4)Individuals with autism don’t speak and can’t smile. 5)Autism can be outgrown. 6)Individuals with autism can’t learn. 7)Underneath all the difficult behaviors are normal people; they could talk if they wanted to. 8)Individuals with autism cannot show affection and do not respond to physical affection. 9) Individuals with autism do not want friends, do not relate to peers/adults and are very manipulative. 10)Individuals with autism don’t notice others and don’t pick up cues from adults. 11)When a person with autism does not respond to a question/direction to which he has shown a previous correct response, he is being stubborn/non-compliant/obnoxious.

    I hope you will find this information helpful. Please seek out professionals to evaluate your children if your gut is telling you that your child or family member needs it.

  13. This kind of comment is how we end up with out of our children pathologized. It seems that every few years we’re diagnosing every child with something, yet for thousands of years people have been raising their children successfully. I do believe there is a place for experts, and intervention specialists, but I also believe that you often get more than you bargain for when you engage these people. What I like about the advice on this blog is that it recognizes the value of both.

  14. Thank you for posting this information. Like many others who commented above, the only information I was able to find on echolalia concerned autism. I have a 29 month old little boy who started haing real words around 24 months after 4 months of speech therapy. I have been struggling with being paranoid about him having a potential autism disorder, and everytime I start to look at the information I feel overwhelmed and confused. We recently had the opportunity to have him evaluated for ASD, but after prayer and consideration my husband and I decided to hold off. He is only 2 and a half, and we feel that he is way too young to have him labeled with a disorder. We feel strongly that there is a wide range of what is considered “normal” in children and that many factors, including home environment, pareting styles, personality, and inhereited traits can influence how a child behaves and relates. To label a child as autistic when they are still developing, in my mind, would only lead me to expect less from him and lead others to start treating him differently. How will that help him continue to develop? God has given my child to me, and my husband and I are the authorities in his life, not doctors or therapists. I have learned to appreciate what they have to say and use the information that I deem helpful, but ultimately to rely on my own God-given instint as a mother. Thank you for sharing this information and helping to present a balanced perspective on child development.

  15. The information on repeating/echolalia was very helpful. I am both a professional in the field of autism and a parent of a “quirky” child. I think parents are right track to use sites such as this to share information and give yourselves time to think through whatever the concern may be and consider what course is right for you. Because of the media and lingering models of service delivery that should have died off by now (The “I’m the professional with the white jacket, here to pathologize your child, then to tell you what u need to do to “fix” your child and if you don’t listen to me, to blame you, etc. etc.”. While that MD is right that we will find a lot of mis information on the web, the same can true when we seek out “professional” opinions. This paternalistic approach is so counterproductive. I believe that our children are so complex, that I counsel famailies struggling for answers: when a professional, no matter how many degrees are posted after their name, tells u they have your child figured out after a brief visit or a “test”, don’t walk, run. : )

  16. I have a three year old son who has been in preschool since the age of two. His teacher suggested he needed a hearing test due to his pronunciation of some words. I had a hearing test done and it was normal. I am concerned with his expressing language. If i ask him a question he repeats it. (ie. “What do you want?” He repeats “What do you want?” I ask “What is your name?” I get no answer but he can see a picture of hisself and repeat his name.) I don’t know if he’s processing any thoughts to the question asked. I am also concerned with him lining up toys, objects, anything that can be lined up. He interacts fine with kids his age or older but when he;s around babies he reverts back to a baby and copy what they do. I tried to have him tested with the three dail screening but he was uncooperative and the test could no be completed. This screening is offered through teachers a parents and they really don’t suggest screening until the age of three and a half. So if he doesn’t progress in six months i wanted to get him tested again.

  17. Hi Alexis,

    I recommend having your child evaluated by an occupational therapist who is either on an interdisciplinary team or works in an office with speech-language pathologists and will make the appropriate referral. I have had several children on my caseload who may present like “autism” but really have more sensory-processing and auditory processing difficulties. Occupational therapists work on sensory-processing skills and sometimes this alone can help greatly with a child’s articulation by using Therapeutic Listening techniques. Regardless, they can best evaluate your child in person and determine the appropriate route. Always remember too, you can also get a second, third opinion…etc. if you are not comfortable with the initial outcome. ALWAYS better to be safe than sorry you didn’t start soon enough. The sooner you start therapy IF NEEDED the faster your child will develop and the less frustrations, socially and emotionally, they will experience later. In the past, children were diagnosed much later if at all and even then it wasn’t until they were showing behavioral problems in school (usually secondary to what’s really going on). It is better to have them identified early on so there’s a chance their diagnosis will be dropped early on rather than be labeled as having behavioral problems later on…this is for the other parents out there that are worried about labeling their 1,2,3 year olds. If they are on the cusp of appropriate development then waiting 6 months is okay but chances are, if you’re concerned then a specialist would be too.

  18. I found this great info when I was trying to figure out if what my daughter was doing was “normal”- great info. My daughter will be three next week and she still occasionally has some immediate echolalia. She had normal language development and is quite verbal and chatty. She’s able to sustain conversations easily and her sentences are often at least 8-10 words long. She is quite quick with comebacks, too. Like the other night, my husband said to me and my daughter, “Good night you two!” and she responded, “Good night, you…one!” with a big grin on her face. She doesn’t have any delayed echolalia other than occasionally repeating something that her preschool teacher has said, and only in appropriate context. For example, she asked me a question when I was brushing my teeth. I answered and she said, “We don’t talk while we’re brushing our teeth”. However she was easily redirected to use you/your. So, everything sounds great. She answers questions, doesn’t repeat them. It’s just the immediate echoing that’s bothering me. I would say that it makes up less than 10% of her language on the days that she does it. She will usually repeat a word or phrase that my husband or I say, and she will often do it while looking directly at us so she is engaged while doing so. Sometimes she will do it just to clarify what we’re saying because she does it in the form of a question. She only does this at home. I did have EI come out and assess her and they gave her a stamp of “normal” but everything I read is autism. I just wonder if there is a difference between the kind of echolalia assocaited with autism and the kind she’s doing. Any insight would be great!!

  19. It sounds like you just need some extra encouragement that your daughter is ok, even though there is still some echoing going on. From what you said, she sounds perfectly normal to me. It isn’t that the type of echolalia differs if the child is autistic, it’s that the echolalia won’t be accompanied by other normal verbal development–which your daughter clearly has. In other words, echolalia with the absence of other language skills is the red flag for delays or disorders.

    Rest assured! She’s right on track. The remaining echolalia will extinguish all on its own, probably in the next couple months.


  20. does anyone think parents are nuts and cant accept developmental delays and childhood quirks?????????

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  22. Great info – my daughter is 27 months and has an extensive vocab – however at times she will echo (prob 15%) of the time. Its mostly around things we’ve told her – for example when going to bed, we have told her – don’t get up too early and at times she will say that when going to bed. I told my ped and he wants her to be assessed for autism – but isn’t some echolalia normal and ok at 27 months??

  23. I found this blog to be both informative and interesting. One thing that folks did not seem to mention was family history. My son is bit quirky, but when I look at some of the things my husband did at his age and beyond, I am somewhat less worried. My husband is an electrical engineer who is also musically gifted. He is not the most social person and was not as a child. He functions well and is a well-respected engineer. He was also a bit late talking. My son was in EI, but it was not much use – he was “on to them” after a while and would tell them “no play” or “go now”, while looking directly at them. He is occasionally echoey, but that is not how he communicates. when he really needs to, he does. He is a strong-willed child with an early ability to do several things, and he now displaying an aptitude for music. His language is a bit slow to come in and quirky, but I think reading the “Einstein Syndrome”, was helpful (more for late-talkers than echoeing). I think for a long time that we have been raising children with quirks that turn out to functioning adults. There seems to be so much focus and fear about autism, that I wonder how much of it is overdiagnosed to receive services. I think that those services can be valuable, but I think if we kept them coming, it may have been more harmful. Children change so rapidly that I would hate to think some are wrongly diagnosed, and that is our fear. It is a tough call – all of the what ifs….We will obviously bring back services if he doesn’t continue to progress as he has been (he is 3 in November). Just some thoughts….

  24. my son was 3 in July and he is a little parrot, i cannot get him to interact in conversation with me. he can tell me what he wants and he does have extensive vocalulary and can tell me numbers, colors and all that but when i ask him a question he repeats it back to me instead of answering. HELP what can i do? He will be starting nursery in January and i feel he should be interacting more than he does. He is an only child and isn’t around other children alot which also doesn’t help. Any ideas?

  25. Actually I want to assuage some parents fears by highlighting that SO MANY KIDS are falsely diagnosed on the autism spectrum only to be cured by growing out of it, not early intervention. Many late talkers struggle into preschool and well after and learn by echolalia. it is a healthy part of language development and this madness has to stop. Where are all these autistic kids from 20 years ago? the same place the ADD kids are.normal adults! real autism is VERY RARE!

  26. I think EI is horrible. Parents like it because its FREE. Basically they think you teach kids to talk by holding stuff away. I think it kills the kids esteem.

  27. this is absurd. einstein was echolalic till 9. alot of kids like to repeat. kids are being put under a microscope for language. in the cases where it REALLY is autism and not just smart language delayed kids or kids who are just slow period or kids who will outgrow it, echolalia in autistic kids is used to AVOID conversation and social contact.a child repeating what you say can be very social and is necessary for learning. also kids will repeat what they find entertaining

  28. this article and many of the comments, especially yours, Lisa, was very comforting to me. I find myself CONSTANTLY worrying about autism and putting my daughter constantly under a microscope instead of just enjoying her. Every single commercial break there is a commercial for 1 in 100, 1 in 160…”your child likely has it” everywhere you turn. It is so frustrating and so overwhelming to a person who has no experience with children. We find ourselves turning to the internet only to get freaked out because everything a toddler does is a “sign” or “red flag”.

    Thank you for your comments.

  29. My son will echo “what does (insert animal here) say?” He won’t answer. He will be 3 in a few days. this is the ONLY thing he echos. it sounds weird, I know, but should I be concerned?
    PS – I’m not overly concerned right now, but I AM rather laid-back!!!

  30. My son is 29 months old. He was born 12 weeks early. His vocab is wide, pronounciation is good, but he often echos the question instead of answering. Only answers clearly when saying ‘no’, e.g I ask ‘would you like a sleep?’ He replies ‘no.’ Alternatively, I ask ‘would you like some chocolate?’ He excitedly replies ‘would you like some chocolate,’ as an affirmative. This pattern Never differs. Also, totally consistantly, he refers to himself as ‘you’ and to me as ‘I’. For example, he says ‘would you like a drink?’ meaning ‘I want a drink’ and ‘shall I help you?’ meaning ‘can you help me.’ Again this pattern NEVER alters no matter what. All sentences are as he has heard them. He narrates what he sees and hears and will carry out requests if I ask him to put the shoes in the hall for example, but there still seems to be something not quite right. I am at the point where I don’t know if my paranoia is the issue or if there is an issue. Should I be worried? On my mind all the time!
    Kelly I feel the same as you, constantly worrying about autism, its seems everywhere.

  31. My daughter is almost 3 1/2 her speach has impoved alot within the past few monthsbut is very behind for her age,she repeats alot of what shes asked and says yeah and no to what I think she understands but am worried she doesnt understand alot of whats being said to her,for eg. she knows our names and says them when we’re pointed to but does not call us by our names,Ive also been trying to teach her colours but she cant seem to grasp it, she has some very strong point also, can you give me your opinion on her situation

  32. I _remember_ being the echolalic child between 3 and 5. Several of the memories are still as clear now as if they had happened yesterday. It was very frustrating. I didn’t WANT to repeat, and tried to stop it – but had a very hard time remembering exactly what was said without first replaying it back in my own speech. Also there are many other bits of memory tied up in those conversations – as if I had remembered everything wholesale and in order to pick out only the conversation everything had to be replayed in my child mind, then separated and processed. I remember losing potential friends and frustrating adults to no end because of the problem. I had stuttering, as well – whenever I was trying to make my own sentences. Both of the problems disappeared by kindergarten. My own daughter is now almost three and she has neither issue. I was surprised to find out that it was not something all kids go through for as long as I had.

    I wonder if more study could be done into how these children process memory in their later life and compare it to other children who did not exhibit ‘symptoms.’ I still have a nearly eidetic memory, short term and long term to some extent. I can replay sensory information about many things I have seen, heard and also about the environment I was within at the time of the incident. It no longer interferes with my speech. In fact, I would call it a benefit as I often call on these feats of memory in my work remembering exactly where things were placed, filed, which book an article of information is in and recalling exact details about orders made months and even years ago.

  33. My 5 year old son repeats what HE says constantly. He will say something and then whisper it again word for word – you have to pay attention since he is mouthing/whispering it but once we noticed he was doing it, he does it all the time.

    He is developmentally fine for his age. Does anyone have any thoughts on this?

  34. We have a child age 5 at school who i believe from seeing a programme on tv and reading your work above that has echlalia. He is amazing when asked how many bottles on the wall or pegs on the line…..he repeats pegs on the line seems to count very quickly in a whisper then gives the answer. could he be remembering the number or is he counting? he doesn’t answer questions very often but repeats all the time, not over and over but 2-3 times, and we are trying pictures to help him with mainstream school routines which can be hard as there are 60 children in one open space.

  35. Hi there,

    Good work on the article, was pleased to read something that would put my mind at ease.

    I have a three year old son who 4 months ago wasn’t speaking. Then one or two words started to surface he began to say yes/no etc. Now he repeats 90% of the things I say to him, which is furstrating. We have a speach Therepist who told me Echolalia is what he has. He can sing an entire jukebox worth of songs, pitch and word perfect but cannot answer “Are you hungry?” just repeats it.

    In cases without autism/learning disabilities is it normal for such a stage to be reached after 3 years of age?

  36. I have a question about echolalia, my grandson is almost 5 years old and this is how he talks by echoing. The odd time he will come out with a phrase just out of the blue, but I will say that 95 % of his speech is echoing. He does not ask questions, start conversations, he almost always just echos. He also does alot of repetive things such as spin wheels or tires on play cars, sometimes for long periods of times. My first thoughts were autism, he is in Daycare now and has been going to a place called Pathways to get help but no one says anything about autism and really not a whole lot about his echoing. I think it’s something to be concerned about. He will be 5 Dec 7 th 2011, do you thnk there is more of a problem then anyone is saying?

    Thank you

  37. MissMama, I just found this article today after doing some research and have the exact same question. My son is 3 1/2 and has just started repeating in the last few months. Often he will repeat a question (“What do you want to eat”) with pronoun reversal (“What do I want to eat”) and then answer it – “bologna”, but sometimes I have to ask him multiple times to get an answer. He also exhibits some very mild symptoms of what I have found to be called Sensory Processing Disorder. The repeating has been of concern to his Mother’s Day Out teacher, who has even indicated it may be a barrier to him starting K-3 in the fall. With special attention to it at home, will he grow out of it with it having started at this late age? Or is further evaluation likely needed?

  38. This is a very nice down to earth look at echolalia – it’s so often thought of something that’s scary and needs fixing right away, but it really can be a useful and normal step in language acquisition. Thanks!

  39. I think this is all wrong. echolalia is a wonderful tool for language learning in all kids whenever. In fact, echolalic kids have the BEST prognosis for developing meaningful speech. Trying to diagnose the echolalia is unscientific. The primary hallmark of autism is real social avoidance, not enjoying toys more than people or being selectively responsive. most kids with severe communication delay will have social and maturation lag as well and many really intelligent kids will be somewhat socially avoidant. this has become autism spectrum but its crap. theres a name for everything. real autism is a serious disease and even intense intervention often fails to produce results. real autism used to be diagnosed in much older kids for a reason. many children follow a slow developmental trajectory.

  40. this was interesting for me to read. I looked this subject up because my sister’s son who is nearly 3yo, bilingual, has been identified as having echolalia, and I can tell they are angling at autism by other comments the speech therapist has made. anyway, my own son is 4 1/2 and was diagnosed with autism a year ago. i read everyone’s comments and i wish i could go back to the time when i didn’t know/wasn’t sure he was autistic and our world wasn’t turned upside down. i dont think my sister’s son is autistic, however with my own son there was some echolalia. the sort of things were we would ask him ‘do you want a drink?’ and he would reply ‘dya want a drink’ or even independently say he wanted something by saying ‘d’ya want? d’ya want?’ while bringing it to us. eventually he did start using the word ‘I’ instead of ‘you’ in his answers. he never answered questions with the word yes, he would either go silent, or whine. he liked the word no, though! anyway, he unfortunately regressed in his speech at 2 1/2-3yo and stopped talking all together. now he is using some language again as we have had all the relevant interventions, but its not really conversational. we are now told that he may never speak if he’s not speaking by 5yo, that he is more on the severe end of the spectrum than they thought, and that he most definitely has some sort of learning difficulties. it is hard to be positive for my sister because our worst nightmare was realised despite all our reasoning why he was ok and not autistic. in any case, our son is happy, affectionate, has a great sense of humour, does learn and develop although at a slower rate than his peers, and is physically agile. we have a lot to be grateful for, but i remember the panic about worrying if anything was wrong, only to find that it was, and things went from bad to worse. however, although we thought we had a typical child that ‘became’ autistic at 2 1/2 yo, really he was always autistic but we didn’t know it. its a huge learning curve, and i feel like i’m reliving the nightmare all over again thru my sister’s son. it also makes me panic about our younger son who is 15 months old. quite social but whenever he does something like his brother, i wonder whether i should worry. my heart goes out to all of you. we also felt we didnt’ want professionals interfering and wrongly labelling him as he was so young, however i’d say if you reach a stage when your concerns cannot be ignored anymore then you will naturally seek advice and help when you are ready. you might not have to. and there are a lot of developmental difficulties out there apart from autism. we said when he was 2yo that if he is still having problems at 3yo we’d seek advice. when he turned 3yo and stopped speaking (when his brother was born) we just KNEW he was autistic, no one had to tell us. because by then he was making lots of odd high pitched sounds, instead of speaking. we got a diagnosis pretty quickly after that.


  42. Great piece! I have actually been searching for information on echolalia for a child with autism, to help him move on to the next level of language, but you have more useful information here than I have found anywhere else on the web. Thank you!

  43. I am both reassured and nervous at the same time after reading everyones posts. It really does help to read everyone’s personal experiences. My son will be 3 in 2 weeks and echoes questions or conversation directed towards him pretty frequently. He will ask me a question repeatedly and wait for my response each time. He is able to answer some questions but I sometimes need to ask him a couple times. He is so bright, good natured, affectionate, so easy going. He has been doing this for a while now, even though now he does seem to answer more questions. Another thing I have been trying to get him to do is answer yes or no questions. He actually doesn’t answer yes or no just repeats what he wants or what he wants instead. It’s so frustrating, his pediatrician said his speech was abnormal and now I am dissecting everything he does.

  44. My son just turned 4 and has recently started doing something I’ve yet to find described online. As I am reading a story, he will repeat (or try to repeat) every thing I say as I am saying it, using a very low voice. It’s almost as if he is trying to read along with me. It makes it distracting for me to read, but I wasn’t concerned and figured he was trying to pretend he was reading the story. He also does this when I sing a song, or sometimes with things he hears on tv. I mentioned it to the pediatrician at his 4 year check-up and that whas when I first head the word echolalia. She quickly dismissed that idea and felt he was probably just pretending like he was reading. Since she mentioned the word echolalia, I started paying closer attention to him when he repeats. Just today he did it as I was talking to him about something he did when he was a baby. I realized he doesn’t only do it when being read to or sung to. I also remembered that when he was 2 and 3 he would often repeat the last letter sound of the last word in a sentence he said, like “I like cats, s, s, s, s, s, s, s, s, s.” He might even pause fow a few seconds and then continue making the s sound as if to practice the sound. He has stopped doing that repetition of his own sounds. But now he is repeating others. Its just not like what I’ve read about echolalia where he repeats a whole question after the person is done speaking. He’s whsipering, or almost mouthing the words right along with them as they talk. In every other way he seems normal and doesn’t fit any other symptoms I’ve read about autism spectrum disorders. He has always been unusually fascinated with wheels ever since he could crawl, but that has diminished somewhat and he’s always played with other things too. Anyway, I’m hoping you might have some insight or point me in the right direction to figure out what this thing he does is called.

  45. My son will be 3yrs old in November. He.has been repeating some of the questions asked to him for about 6 months now. His vocabulary has grown and he only repeats questions I think he doesn’t know the answer to. But even when I go over what his response should be with him and ask the same question again he repeats the question again. He has reached development in all other places and he even reads so I thought maybe he was doing the repeating things to help him learn or memorize things. Most questions, he will have an answer but I noticed that if he us tired he will say he’s tired and if I keep asking the question he will repeat it then finally say mommy I don’t know it. He has been tested for autism and everything was fine. How can I help him with this? Do you think this is an issue?

  46. This comment is for Rhelynn- I, too repeated things as a young child and have a near photographic memory. I have a real knack for remembering long number combinations. I remember being as young as 6 years old and my dad would get a phone number from someone and he would not write it down. He would just turn to me, tell me the phone number and I would repeat it back to him. Later he would just ask me the number. I was his walking phone book lol. To this day, I can remember exactly what tie a doctor was wearing when I last met with him at a tradeshow 6 years ago and sometimes what I consider really insignificant details. I have all of my credit card numbers memorized. Here is the thing though, I cannot memorize it without repeating the number out loud and thinking ” I need to remember this”. Weird, huh? Maybe psychology but I never forget it after that. My daughter, who is 2, is exactly the same way I was according to my mom.

  47. Hello! Thank you for the info–I found it comforting, considering that we have some concerns about our son who is just over 2 1/2 years old. Not sure whether to have him evaluated or not because of all of the concern about Autism out there. Maybe you can help… Here are our concerns: He still repeats most things in question form. (Ex. Do you want a waffle? He answers back, “Do you want a waffle?”). Although, sometimes, when asked a question, he will respond with “yes,” “no,” “okay,” etc… most of the time, he repeats the question back. He also generates a lot of speech on his own, although most of it sounds like a question. (ex. “You don’t want to go to bed?” when he doesn’t want to go to bed.) Other things that seem “unique” about him: He didn’t walk until 16 months, but by 18 months, he knew ALL of his letters, phonics, colors, and numbers (counts to 50 on his own). He is constipated all the time and is a very picky eater. When he is disciplined (ex. put in time out or scolded) he hits himself in the head. He has frequent tantrums and difficulty accepting his little sister (age 1). Biggest concern is the echolalia… Your thoughts/comments are much appreciated! Thanks!

  48. Thank you so much for this site. I am a mother of a 31 month year old. I thought my son was doing fine with his speech/language till I was at the doctor with him last week and the doctor mentioned that he sing song talks. I haven’t been able to find anything about it except on a page about autism. My sister works for an infant and toddler organization and she doesn’t think he is autistic. He has great eye contact, enjoys being with people, is energized when around people, has a good vocab, does talk in several word sentences, etc. I have noticed that sometimes his speech sounds sing songy but sometimes it doesn’t. He also does a lot of gibbering before and after actual words. Ex: “gibber gabbier I want milk gibber gabbier” He does answer questions but sometimes he doesn’t. Example: at the dr’s office he was playing with her stethoscope and she was asking him, “Where is mom”, “Where are your shoes?” and he wasn’t answering. Selective hearing or something more serious? It does seem like I have to sometimes say his name before asking him to do something. But again is it something more serious or selective hearing? Just a minute ago I said, “Turn the tv off”, he kept watching, I said, “turn the tv off”, he did look at me and said “no”, I said “Garrett, turn the tv off”, and he finally did.
    He does echolalia but he also says things on his own, which your post on this really helped.
    I had depression right after I had my son and it turned into anxiety which I am on meds for. I tend to go over board when I hear things concerning my son and I am one of those moms that as soon as I heard I was having a boy started to worry and pick at his behavior as soon as he was born. I really have not been able to enjoy him like I want or should. His doctor said to wait to see if things approve over the next 6 months but I’m freaking out and picking apart everything that he does and says. My gut wasn’t worry it before but now it does. After reading your blog last night I felt fine but I woke up all worried again this morning. I think it is me with the problem but does this sound like something I should be worried about or something I could wait till around 3 years?

  49. i worry about my 3 1/2 year old there are some thing he does doesnt make sense. we took him to be evaluated and they said adhd and oppisional definace. but we still hae other isuse that isnt covered by that. he will repeat i love you over and over all day long ever few minutes. it is very repitious ..but he doesnt get along with other kids. he is fearless will go with anyone anywhere and he will go up to strangers for instance if we go to the ss office and he will go up to a person climb up in there lap talk and tell them stories and put one arm around them and say i love you and give them a kiss and run his fingers threw their hair..can not get him to understand that they are strangers and we dont do that to people we dont know. but he doesnt understand. as he grows older these behaviors are getting more severe and intense. along with he will get up in the middle of the night and play with toys for a few weeks and be tired during the day but isnt sleeping thru the night..then we have times where he will sleep for 10 hours over night and be just fine. but this is a pattern that he does. and it repeats every few weeks. i know there is something else going on with him but i dont know what and i am running out of resources! is this normal and does anyone have any idea what we are dealing with..i would love some suggestions

  50. Pingback: Echolalia » My Little Professor

  51. Hello, this actile was very intresting it has opened my eyes, my 3yr daughter was born 9 weeks and has a lot of problems, her speech been one of them, she can say words on their own but can’t put a 4 words together it comes out all mumble up, she is constanly repeating everything we say to!, this actile sounds a lot like my daughter, how do I get her diongised? She will soon be attending peadiactric speech theopy

  52. this was a very informative article – thank you SOOO much
    I too have a son who will be 3 in 2 weeks and although he has come a long way with is speech and has now started making simple sentences and “talking” he still for the most part repeats everything i ask him ex. “do you want macaroni” he says “macaroni?” do you want to go outside?” “go outside” – which for us has become a positive response – we felt like by him repeating the thing then it must mean that he wants it or agrees to it and we accept it as a yes – because if he didnt want it he would say “no” but if he agrees or wants it then he just repeats the work …? so anywaythanks this was helpful

  53. This is the only article that I have read that calms me down. As you can imagine, all of us have a child that does something that is concerning. It is a roller coaster trying to figure out if there is truly a serious problem. What truly breaks my heart is that all of the things my 2 1/2 son does that we considered to be so cute and endearing, are now areas of concern! I had Early Intervention come yesterday to assess him, and I am now worried. She felt that my concerns and my reasons for calling her were valid and that he needs to be evaluated by the schools. He uses “rote phrases” to communicate. But, like I told her, he always uses them appropriately. He will say to me “Do you want a waffle?” and I say “Do you want a waffle?” and he says “Okay! This way to the waffle!” He started saying that only with milk, then juice, now in the last week he has used the same phrase, but for different food, snack, toy car. He has started identifying things with more of a sentence, like “That’s a soccer ball” He says when we are walking “C’mon guys! Let’s go this way!” Anyway she was also concerned that he didn’t try to show me any toys or engage in conversation when she was here, and I agree he does not initiate conversation, except for the above. He could count to 17 at 18 months. He knows his shapes and some colors, and some letters. He often repeats things from TV for no reason, except that we have always thought it was cute how he would want us to say it back! He currently says “Up next on Nick JR”, but the phrases change almost on a weekly basis, it’s like he is trying out new out things he hears. I feel his vocabulary is expanded every single day. He is happy, joyful, enthusiastic. No tantrums, no eating issues, he sometimes talks and plays around in his crib before falling asleep for up to an hour or so. He is easy going, adapts easily to change, travel, vacations. Knows the difference between Mommy and Daddy and strangers. He doesn’t address us by our names except maybe once or twice a week. Doesn’t address his siblings either, but recognizes them and often says “HI!” when he sees them. I should mention is our 4th child too, and we feel he has not received the interaction he has deserved! Most of what he has learned to say he picked up from Nick Jr…he has a good memory, as do I!
    I agree, maybe because I want it to be not serious, with this article. He is 30 months, the age where the echolalia peaks. I feel my son uses the phrases to communicate appropriately, and then repeats the other things because he talks constantly, and he likes the reaction and enthusiasm we return to him. I realize this is the best case scenario. The worst case scenario worries me as well, I read some of posters who have autistic children recalling when they were in this same position and “didn’t know”. And then their child regressed and the diagnosis became clear. I would like to have him evaluated privately and am seeking that out today. I wish past posters would come back on here and let us know what happened with their children…most blogs never have follow ups:(

  54. OMGoodness wow, this article has certainly brought out tons of responses!!
    MY EXPERIENCE: (try to keep short)
    1.5 not much speech, 2 plus, more speech but used LOTTSSS of Echolalia–to the point that @ Christmas, we were shopping & a lady came from around a corner with a HAND WRITTEN LIST of names n numbers of different Society Groups n Foundations n Places I cud call for an Autism assessment for my THEN 2.5 yr old… I always felt since birth, n so did others, that something was different about my Unique Daughter who has been labelled by docs even, of being “more like a boy”…anyways, I just want to say that YES this Echolalia thing HAS HAPPENED, stilll happens with EXTENDED BABBLING AFTER IT n she’s 3plus NOW, there’s NO WAY to determine ‘WHEN IT WILL STOP’ …I spend every waking n non waking moment with my 3 year old, have a 12 yr old girl as well, (perfect development record of course complete opposite) & I believe NOW that she USES the Echolalia as a TOOL FOR LEARNING HERSELF…I.e. each time I tell a ‘STORY’ to ANOTHER person, she grabs the first or last sentence in perfect clarity, babbles n babbles it over n over, mixes in a bunch of literally senseless jumbling of sounds n words, n it used to SCARE ME…I’d think she doesn’t understand a THING were saying n she’s over three must b autism, SILLY ME!! SOOO HERE’S WHAT I STRATED TO DO THAT WORKS with MY 3 plus year old:
    After I tell my ‘story’ (a list of events 2 my 12 year old in the car lets say, usually a ‘check in’ off how r days went while SHE was at school, n she tells me hers) the 3 plus yr old starts the hand signals n chat chat chat senselessly repeating whatever parts she can n add lib…I give as MUCH EYE CONTACTS as possible, like SHE’S TELLING ME the story I’VE JUST TOLD, n act like a GOOD LISTENER SHOULD, nodding my head ‘hmmm mm uh huh’ in agreement, then I wait until she’s done …unless it gets dragged out n over the top long…
    –I THEN THINK n speak CLEARLY, MAKE THE WHOLE STORY MUCH SHORTER FOR HER TO UNDERSTAND n tell her what we’ve talked about in SHORT, CLEARER VERSION, WITH MOST IMPORTANT INFORMATION, so she can LEARN HOW to Re Tell story in her own WITHOUT THE ‘BABBLING BROOKS’ I call it…it works so well, that sometimes I re-tell someone else skillfully! ALSO, most amazing was I told her some story then, she repeated it back for ME, IN HER OWN WORDS!!!!! LOL such amazing beings!
    WHAT I ALSO DID WHEN HER ECHOLALIA was at its highest peak was this, TRY saying the sentence, question, over in A Completely Different Way!! Right!? I HAVE to do it still cuz SME DAYS she still doesn’t seem to understand certain concepts ideas or questions n the Echolalia is present–I also believe its a way SHE’S TELLING ME, “MOMMIE, I DNT UNDERSTAND” so I repeat it differently…it ALSO HELPS when there’s another human being out the re that FINALLY UNDERSTANDS n sees your child as u do AND DOESN’T LABEL her as anything but a learning ‘CHILD’!! Dnt feel so alone or outcasted! At her daycare a New teacher there (child goes only few days per week n with me EVERY OTHER) repeated back to me every single little thing she does during the day n her process of thought, her misunderstandings, her mistaken ‘misbehaviour’ n ‘not listening’ when she just DIDN’T UNDERSTAND the order that was given… N it made me feel UNDERSTOOD! MORE, than 3yr olds in GREAT HANDS where she’s GIVEN Attention, listened to, played with, looked at, n learned ABOUT, instead of JUST ‘being taught’ !!! Amazing feeling…
    CLOSING, I LOVE”just WATCHing” her from outside of allllll the reading, papers, behaviours, labels, opinions good n bad of strangers, professionals (who don’t know her but 15mins a month in docs appts) and I ‘get to know her’ a little more each day, each time, n I remove myself completely from the compelling voices of the Internet (which I Enjoy & Appreciate) n I JUST GET TO KNOW HER..REALLY WATCH HER, REALLLLY LOOK, REALLY LISTEN, let her do some leading, GIVE HER the ‘lead, (not control sorta) the lead…n it MARVELS me a little more each time! Bottom line, I LOVE ‘getting to know’ my ‘little one’ when all the answers weren’t available, I ask myself ‘what wud society have done THEN’???…..JUST LIVE, see what answers come to UR mind when u ask urself without the internets answers, what wud u have done then n us be SUPRISED at the IDEAS u Can n Will come up with on your own(positive ideas) LOL LOL in love and blessings, Jeanine …

  55. @Ann – I seriously wouldn’t worry about the pronoun issue at only 3 years old. My daughter (who was an early & precocious talker and is now in a gifted program as a second-grader) confused pronouns for a long time as a toddler. It was really one of the only “babyish” things she did as she developed her language. To avoid confusion, she simply referred to everyone, including herself, in the third person, using everyone’s names. It took until after age 3 for her to really get it 100%.

    As a side note, I am so glad to read this article! My 30-month-old recites his favorite books verbatim CONSTANTLY. He is slightly language delayed, as he needed an adenoidectomy & ear tubes to prevent fluid from building up in his ears. (He now has good hearing but was hearing subpar for about a year.) Plus, he has an overbite and tongue thrust, so even when he thinks he is saying something correctly, he is often mispronouncing it. Still, I reasoned to myself that he *is* chatting, and chatting extensively. Reading this article assures me that he is probably right on task. He does answer questions like, “What color is this bowl?” or “Which is your left foot?” I was concerned that he never initiates a conversation by saying something like, “Mommy, look at this!” Rather, he often just finds me or yells, “Need help!” or “I’m stuck!” Still, given that he is only 30 months, and considering that my bar was set high by my very early-talking daughter, I realize he is completely within normal range.

    Now all we need to do is get him hooked on some new books. We’re getting a little tired of hearing his current repertoire. 🙂

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  57. i HAVE A SON HE IS 5YRS NOW AND HE IS STILL REPEATING THINGS TO ME WHAT I SAY TO HIM. He can tell you everything he want and know his school, but he cannot conversate socially with you. I went to see a nurologist and they came up with the dx PDD. Do you think i should get another opionion. thanks

  58. Thank you God, you are really good. My son is 32 months now, he is more of self explorer, he can talk all sentence that we do, only part missing is he do not initiate communication, that is it and My wife is so worried that she says she is sorry that she couldn’t give me a good child (she thinks there some problem with him), i dont see he has issues, well even if he had issue what did she do ?

    but anyway, thank you soo much, your article kicked my tensions

    Once again thank you.

  59. I wonder if you could possibly give me some advice. I have a 4 1/2 year old step-daughter that I am especially concerned about. First, I should tell you that she was born with an array of problems including hydrocephalus. She had 7 shunt revisions before the age of 1. As she has gotten older, she has been extremely delayed in major milestones which the medical professionals as well as family members have chalked up to undergoing anesthesia so many times at such a young age. However, I have a gut feeling that she is also autistic. She displays hand shaking and echolalia consistently. She will not play with other children and has extreme emotional reactions to things that she should not. For instance, she is still not potty trained. If you ask her, “do you need to go potty?”, she will immediately burst into a temper tantrum and begin crying. She has never once responded to anyone with a “yes” or “no”. If you say, “Josey, did you have a good day at school?”… she will say “Josey have a good day at school”. She also is very particular about cleanliness. There can not be any trash around that she does not immediately pick up and put in the trash. When she is finished eating, if you do not remove the plate of food or drink, she will push it off the table as she does not even want to see it once she is finished. She also has extreme reactions to balloons. When you call her name, she will turn and look at you about half the time. She has major balance issues, has trouble with stairs, and falls down a lot. Could these issues actually be a side effect of the many surgeries she has undergone? Or should I be concerned enough to push for further testing??

  60. Thank you for this article. My son turned 3 on September 8 and I think he may have this. His teacher has expressed concerns that he has not seen a child in class repeat to the extent my son does. Often times when he is given a direction at school, instead of following the direction he just repeats the question. If you ask him his name, he doesn’t answer and just says “your name”. He also confuses I, me, you and your all the time. If he ants us to carry him he says “carry you”. He repeats me a lot of the time but there are also instances where he will answer you. I have called our county’s intervention department to get him evaluated.

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  62. I enjoyed your article very much, it was the first one that has helped me all day!!

    I do have a question… my son, 26 months, repeats a thought.. i.e. I might say ” John will hold you” and now all day.. every 3 seconds for two days he says “john will hold you…John will hold you”… this is non stop, except with an occasional other thought..” JU JU up” ( JU JU is how he sais his name) back to “John hold you”…

    He does not reply to questions, except to say “No” to even stuff he wants… but he will say Ju Ju No like”…

    When he gets in trouble and I tell him he disobeyed all he does is repeat my lecture.. or at least a few words as I say them… but if I ask a question.. he doesn’t answer, just somewhat repeats the question….

    However, I can give him some commands like ” put your toy away” and he will do so… but I can’t give him a choice, Do you want an apple or orange” He says “Apple Orange”…

    He is very friendly, will walk to a stranger and signal to be picked up… He leaves my arms to be carried by all the other children at church ( as they pass him around) but doesn’t play with them, other then running…

    I don’t know…does this sound normal or of concern?

    Thank you, I am anxiously waiting your reply.

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  65. I wanted toask what I should do, or how exactly I should respond when my daughter (25 months) repeats the same question? Do I continue to answer her every single time, even though I know she knows what it is? Should I correct her? What about turning it around and asking her a question about something she is interested in…”what’s that noise”, I have tried telling her to try using clues around her to figure it out (for example in the car and she hears the traffic).

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  70. I think my son has it and he is 46 monthd old; he turn 4 at the end of January. Its very frustrating cause he know what to say when he wants but its fine I dont know. For instance, he is in his room and starts crying out of nowhere. So I ask whats wrong and he sits there and repeats me and we went back and forth for 30 and he continued to just repeat me. I don’t know what to do.

  71. My daughter had hearing loss for a little over 2 years and she’s 3.5 years old. She’s had reoccurrent ear infections that took forever to treat each time. Anyways, now her speech is finally growing by leaps and bounds, she can answer me and I can tell her receptive communication skills are growing. She however acts like a 2.5 year old AND she repeats a lot. She repeats conversations (I don’t think they are exact) or phrases or words again and again. But then she will turn and talk to me just fine and play with her toys and such. But the repeating is happening a lot and it’s worrying us. We brought her to a psychologist who said her hearing loss might have made her delayed so she’s going through those developmental stages late. Does that even make sense? Any info or advice would be great although I know you can’t tell me specifically because you’ve never met my daughter.

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