As I told you all on my last post, Guto’s vocabulary had grown quite a bit. I am not sure how much of it he really understands what he is saying and how much is just repetition. Here is some known forms of communication that usually go along with autism.
Echolalia or scripting
Echolalia/Scripting is the repetition of phrases, words or parts of words. Echolalia may be a sign of autism, another neurological condition, a visual impairment or a developmental disability. Almost all toddlers go through a stage in which they “parrot” words and phrases that they overhear. Mimicry is an efficient way to experiment with different sounds and practice emerging social language skills. This is a normal and critical stage in language development.
When a person repeats back something that he or she has just heard, that is immediate echolalia. For example, if a parent says, “It’s time for a bath,” the child may repeat, “Time for a bath.” It is believed that by repeating back the words, the child is demonstrating that she can hear accurately, can physically produce speech and can remember it long enough to reproduce it. The next step is comprehension of speech, which may take months or years to develop.
Many people like to memorize and recite “catch phrases,” or sometimes whole paragraphs – perhaps scriptural verses, inspirational or historic speeches, or funny scenes from the movies. As long as the phrases are repeated in an appropriate social context, this is a widely accepted social behavior. Delayed echolalia is the repetition of phrases after a period of time – several minutes or a year after the phrase was originally heard – and the phrases may pop up any time, any place.
Echolalia/Scripting was once thought to be non-functional, but is now understood to often serve a communicative or regulatory purpose for the child.