Echolalia is a linguistic disorder, refers to a communication pattern. In this a person involuntarily repeats words or sentences spoken by others. It is most commonly seen in childhood, especially in children who are affected by autism spectrum disorder (ASD). However, in adults, it can also be found in various neurological conditions.

In this article, we will let you know about the real meaning of echolalia, its types, causes, and examples. So if you want to know more about Echolalia and its standard definition, then keep reading as we have covered everything about this complex behavior disorder in detail below.

Meaning of Echolalia

Echolalia is the unsolicited repetition of vocalizations made by another person In its profound form it is automatic and effortless.

The word echolalia is derived from the Greek words “echo” + “lalia”, where echo meaning “repetition of sound”, while lalia means speak or talk. So when a person repeats the sounds, words or sentences heard, it is called echolalia.

Echolalia is different from Echopraxia, In Echopraxia – a person mimics the physical movements or actions of others which is not related to words or sound!

Furthermore, Echolalia in children is often a normal stage of language learning, but persistent Echolalia in adults may be a sign of another neurological or developmental problem.

So in short, while speaking if person repeats certain sentence, sounds, words again and again this is called  echolalia and it can be treated with speech therapy, or behavior therapy.

Types of Echolalia

Echolalia can be mainly divided into two types:

1. Immediate Echolalia

In immediate echolalia, a person immediately repeats the words or sentences heard. Hence, the action would be quick and being a parent you can quickly notice it in your child.

Example: If someone says “What’s your name?”, the person with immediate echolalia might respond “What’s your name?”.

2. Delayed Echolalia

In this type, the person repeats the words or sentences heard after some time. As a parent, you may not notice this as your child heard it several days ago through a TV program, YouTube video or live conversation.

Example: A child repeats a sentence heard on TV a few hours or days later.

Causes of Echolalia

There can be many causes of echolalia, mainly including the following:

Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD)

Echolalia can be a major symptom of autism. Autistic children may use it as a way to communicate.

Neurological Disorders

Echolalia can also be found in some neurological conditions such as Tourette syndrome, schizophrenia, and other mental health disorders.

Developmental Delay

Children who have slow linguistic and social development may also display echolalia.

Examples of Echolalia

It is important to understand examples of echolalia so that it can be identified and treated appropriately. For you we have picked some examples that help you to understand that this person has echolalia condition and need to address immediately.

During conversations

A child who is affected by autism repeats the sentences said by the parents over and over again, such as repeating “eat food” as “eat food” over and over again.

While listening to TV or radio

The child repeats the dialogues heard in his/her favourite cartoon show. These days kids learn many words via watching videos on YouTube, so if your child is repeating words from YouTube videos then you should notice it!

At school

The child later repeats the lessons taught by the teacher in the class, even if they do not fully understand its meaning.

Effects of Echolalia

Echolalia can have various effects on a person’s life:

Social interactions

A person with echolalia may have difficulties in social interactions. They may be unable to answer correctly, making it difficult to communicate with others.

Educational progress

It may be difficult for the child to learn and maintain concentration at school. They are not able to answer the teacher’s questions correctly and this can be problematic.

Personal Development

Echolalia can affect a person’s self-reliance and self-confidence, as they always depend on the words of others. So it should be treated as soon as possible.

Treatment and Solutions

Echolalia is treatable and various techniques can be used for this:

Speech Therapy

A speech and language therapist can improve the communication ability of a person with echolalia by using special techniques and exercises. They will guide with live examples and enhance their skills!

Behavioral Therapy

Behavioral therapists work to understand and improve the behavior of the person. They encourage positive behavior and try to reduce negative behavior.

Social Skills Training

Through social skills training, the person is taught proper social interaction methods, so that they can communicate better with other people like known or unknown friends.

Support of family and friends

The support of the family and friends of a person with echolalia is important. They should be patient and help the person communicate.


Echolalia is a complex linguistic disorder, but it can be controlled with proper treatment and support. It is important to understand that echolalia is only a symptom, and the right solution can be found only by understanding the reasons behind it. If someone in your family or someone you know has echolalia, it is important to seek the help of a professional speech and language therapist.

It is extremely important to be patient and encourage a person with echolalia while communicating with them. This not only improves their communication skills but also helps them become self-dependent and confident.

About the Author: shadase

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