What is echolalia?

Sarah Clifford Scheflen, MS, CCC-SLP, Speech Language Pathologist, explains what echolalia is, how it often affects children with Autism, and how it can be treated
Definition of Echolalia
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What is echolalia?

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Many children with Autism have echolalia. What is echolalia, people often ask? It's basically when a child imitates what you said, it could be immediate or it could be delayed. So I could say, "Hi Sarah," and the child would say, "Hi Sarah," right away. I might say, "I'm going to the park," and you might hear "park," or they might say the whole thing; "I'm going to the park." You might have seen Rainman. He does a lot of delayed echolalia where he goes back and scripts movies. Sometimes children go back and do it appropriately and you say, "Oh, that was really good." Then you realize they are using something from a movie. Sometimes I'm working with children, and they'll say, "Nemo caught a fish," or something they heard from a movie. It's not functional, so you need to work on treating the echolalia.

Sarah Clifford Scheflen, MS, CCC-SLP, Speech Language Pathologist, explains what echolalia is, how it often affects children with Autism, and how it can be treated

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Sarah Clifford Scheflen, MS, CCC-SLP

Speech Language Pathologist

Sarah Cilfford Scheflen, MS, CCC-SLP is a pediatric clinical speech–language pathologist who specializes in working with children with autism and other developmental disorders. She works exclusively with children, primarily between the ages of 12 months to eight years.

Sarah is the founder of Scheflen Speech–Language Pathology, Inc., her private practice in Santa Monica, California, as well as the co-founder (together with autism advocate Jenny McCarthy) of Teach2Talk, LLC, a producer of quality educational products including video–modeling DVDs that teach children a variety of skills including appropriate behavior, social skills, play and language. 

She is also the senior speech–language pathologist on staff at an intensive partial–hospitalization program for autism located at a major public research university located in Los Angeles, California, where Sarah has provided therapy to hundreds of children with autism spectrum disorders and conducted research into various treatment modalities. 

Sarah is a frequent speaker and guest lecturer, and her research focuses on teaching play, social skills and language to children through video modeling.

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