Speech disorder is a difficulty that occurs very commonly during childhood, which can manifest as a sign that something bigger may be going on in the body. One of these disorders is echolalia.

In this article, we explain what echolalia consists of and we mention the possible causes that can generate it.

What is echolalia?

Echolalia is a medical term to identify a speechdisorder and consists of the repetition of words or phrases involuntarily an dunconsciously, then after the patient has heard them either from other people, from the radio, television or after listening to a song. (1)

Important: Palilalia and echolaliamust be differentiated, since the former refers to the involuntary repetition of the firstsyllables of a word or first words of asentence.

Generally, this disturbance occurs in children withautism(2) or another underlying disease and is usually classified as a symptom, characterized by an echo-like mode of speech. It is important to understand that the child or adult in this situation does not understand anything he repeats.

It should be noted thatthere are two fairly common types of echolalia, which are:

  • Immediate echolalia: It is one where the child or adult pronounces the words or phrases immediately after having heard them.
  • Late echolalia: It is one where the subject pronounces words or phrases heard previously outside the context in which he perceived them.

Why does echolalia occur?

As mentioned above, echolalia can be considered a symptomof another hidden disease because of the following circumstances:

1. Brain injuries

Echolalia in adults usually goes from being a symptom to a disease, because it usually occurs due to lesions in the brain .

of the brain, specifically in the area that handles the motor skills language and speech, caused by trauma, strokes, genetic factors, among others.

Note: Echolalia differs from apraxia of speech , since the latter occurs due to a Engine Inability to perform speech movements.

2. Autism Spectrum Disorders

Autism spectrum disorder is a disability that arises from childhood and affects the child’s development to socialize, in addition to affecting language, comprehension and speech, echolalia being one of the most common symptoms.

To highlight: The child with echolalia can present aggressive behavior , however this conflictive behavior is due to autism.

3. Tourette’s Syndrome

that last for more than a year.

These motor tics are also also manifested in speech , in the repetition of phrases and words characteristic of echolalia, as well as obscene words typical of Coprolalia .

You should know: Echopraxia and Echolalia must be differentiated, since the first term refers to the imitation or repetition of gestures or body movements of other people.

4. Dementia and schizophrenia

Dementia is a medical term, which is used to describe a group of symptoms that affect memory, thinking and social skills in the individual, caused by some brain lesions mainly of degenerative origin. (4)

Note: When these lesions affect brain regions involved in language, they can cause echolalia and logoclony symptoms .

In the case of schizophrenia, it is identified as a serious mental disorder in which people interpret reality in an abnormal way and its symptoms include seeing or hearing things that are not there, as well as extremely disorganized or abnormal motor behavior, including He speaks. (5)

5. Delayed language development

The delay in language development occurs when a child’s acquisition of new linguistic elements is slower than that of other children of his age. (6)

To highlight: Echolalia frequently appears in children with learning difficulties, who suffer from delayed language development.

How is echolalia treated?

Echolalia has no cure, however there are strategies that can Reduce the number of repetitions of words or phrases that the patient makes and which we mention below:

1. Speech therapy

The first strategy to use after diagnosis is to apply speech therapyto treat echolalia. One of these language experts is the speech therapist, a professional who specializesin language disorders. (7)

There are also other language therapists such as speech therapists, known as speech therapists , who are professionals trained in the study of human communication, its development and its disorders.

You should know: These specialists will be able to ask a series of questions to relatives in search of information, to develop a personalized therapy for the patient.

2. Family support

Family intervention and participation is another strategy to be used in patientssuffering from echolalia, especially in the area of communication.

Important: Clear and precise communication , using simple vocabulary , avoiding complicated or very long sentences and communicating with the patient slowly, are some of the recommendations within the family.

Key Findings

  • Echolalia is a medical term to identify a speech disorder.
  • Echolalia manifests itself through the involuntary and unconscious repetition of words or phrases .
  • Echolalia is considered a symptom of some underlying disease in the body.
  • This disorder begins to manifest from childhood to adolescence.
  • Echolalia is caused by a deficiency in the functioning of the neurological system or by some brain injury.

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