Hi everyone! I’m Amythest and welcome to this week’s episode of “Ask an Autistic.” [Theme song starts] I want a renaissance To shine a light Be the change we want Set things right We’ve been waiting in the dark For so long [Theme song ends] This week, I’m going to be discussing echolalia. Specifically, the two main kinds of echolalia: immediate echolalia and delayed echolalia. Immediate echolalia is what most people think of when they think of echolalia. It is the immediate repetition of words or short phrases by autistic people. So immediately after somebody says something to us or we hear it, we repeat it. Immediate echolalia is sometimes misunderstood by nonautistic people. It’s been said by nonautistic people that immediate echolalia is a sign of inattention in autistic people. A sign that we aren’t engaged with our environment and even a sign of a lack of intelligence, or an inability to learn. Like we’re just parrots repeating whatever we hear. Now we know this isn’t true, and it can even be a stepping stone to generating unique or original language; Speaking in a person’s ” own words.” Every autistic person is different. So I’m just gonna to outline a few reasons that an autistic person might use immediate echolalia. The first common of immediate echolalia is a way to stall or buy ourselves time while we process what is just said to us. If you say something to an autistic person or ask us a question and then expect a response there’s a lot that has to happen in our brains for us to make a verbal response. We have to hear what you’re saying and then make an effort to understand the language that you’ve used and what exactly is that you’re asking of us. And then while remembering what it is that you just asked, we have to figure our what our response is; what we think or feel in that moment, and then we have to translate our response into spoken language. So using immediate echolalia, repeating the question that was asked for us or a portion of the thing that somebody just said is a way for us to buy ourselves time, while at the same time processing what was said to us and giving us time to generate our own answer. A second common reason that autistic people use immediate echolalia is interaction. Immediate echolalia can be a form of expression, which I will be talking about next. It can be a way for us to process what we’re hearing and to think about what we what to say. But it can also just be a way to be present with someone and to interact. If you say to an autistic person, “I had a really good time at the park today with you.” And they say, “I had a really good time at the park today with you.” It could be that they’re just expressing the same sentiment or repeating what you said to show that they are there with you and they’re listening and they want to engage with you. A third common reason that autistic people use immediate echolalia, and the reason that it was actually controversial up until the 1980s, it is a form of expression; A way to say what we’re thinking, or to make our needs and desires known. Something to look out for when you’re trying to determine if an autistic person is using immediate echolalia to communicate with you, or ask for something is to look at their body language. So if you ask an autistic person, “Would you like more salad?” and they say, “Would you like some more salad?” and hold out their plate at the same time, then chances are they are answering in an affirmitive, “Yes, I would like more salad.” So it is important to keep an eye out on an autistic person’s body language, which will give you a clue into if they are expressing themselves, or asking for something when they are using immediate echolalia. Another sign that an autistic person is using immediate echolalia to express themselves or in a communicative way is as if they…echolalia with slight changes in the original question or sentence. So if you ask an autistic person, “Would you like some milk?” And they respond with, “Would you like some juice?” Chances are they are saying, “No, I don’t want milk. I want juice.” So those are three common reasons that autistic people use immediate echolalia. As a way to process and buy us time, while thinking about our response. As a way to interact and engage with people and as a method of expression. To make our needs and wants known. But immediate echolalia is also used personally by autistic people for our own reasons and not necessarily communicate with people around us. The use of immediate echolalia could be self-soothing. If an autistic person is in a new situation or they’re stressed or anxious, they might repeat comforting or familiar words or phrases to themself just to help them get through it and to process and also as a way to calm themselves and regulate their emotions. Immediate echolalia can also be for self-simulation purposes and that is just fine. Lots of words are fun or enjoyable to say. An autistic people might use immediate echolalia personally as a way to rehearse. Um as a form of rehearsal. I do this quite a bit. If I’m asked a question like, “Are you going to church tomorrow?” I might repeat quietly to myself a few times, “Are you going to church tomorrow? Are you going to church tomorrow?” And this is me rehearsing what I’m going to say. Or it might be a parent telling their autistic child, “Say thank you for the gift.” And they might say to themselves, “Say thank you for the gift. Say thank you for the gift.” And they could be working themselves up to saying, “Thank you for the gift.” What is delayed echolalia? Delayed echolalia is exactly what it sounds like. It’s the repetition of words or phrases after a puritive time. So uh hours, days, or weeks or even years after the autistic person heard the original content. Delayed echolalia is also often misunderstood by non-autistic people, but for a different reason. The thing about delayed echolalia is that because a period of time has passed since the autistic person was told or heard the original content. The person listening now might not know what they’re referencing. If they were there originally, they might not even remember or they just might not have seen the movie or television show or commercial that the autistic person is ‘echolalialing’ from. So in that way, the listener might not actually recognize delayed echolalia as echolalia. Especially if the echolalia- if the repeated dialogue -actually fits in the current situation. I see this kind of echolalia – this delayed echolalia- quite a bit in autistic teenagers and adults. Particularly, autistic teens and adults who can generally “pass” as a neurotypical. And this is a part of their passing as a neurotypical, as a use of delayed echolalia and social scripts. So, this is all very closely tied in with scripting. Again, every autistic person is different. But there are a few common reasons that an autistic person might use delayed echolalia One reason is for communication. They might use delayed echolalia in a communicative way. For example, when asked, “What did you do on the weekend?” They might respond with, “Don’t forget your swimsuit.” Which is something that someone said to them before they went to the pool. And from this, the listener might be able to infer that the autistic person went to the pool on the weekend. Another example would be that an autistic person being asked how they feel today. And then, the autistic person repeating dialogue from a book or a movie that they feel that it’s their current mood or what they like to respond with. And again, this may or may not be identified as echolalia. Another common reason for the use of delayed echolalia is for routine, or a feeling of completion. You may have noticed that at the beginning of most – if not all of my videos – I start with “Hi! I’m Amythest and welcome to this week’s episode of Ask an Autistic.” This is a form of delayed echolalia. It’s kind of funny because this repetition is something I originally said. So I’m repeating myself. But it is a form of echolalia and it’s a kind of comforting routine thing to stick to. I don’t have to worry about how I’m going to start up a video because I can just use delayed echolalia and say what I say at the beginning of pretty much every video. So after completing a task, an autistic person might say to themselves, “Good job,” which is delayed echolalia that a teacher or a parent might have said to them. A phrase that meant that you have just completed a task and you are done now and good job. The last example I’ll give, a reason that an autistic person might use delayed echolalia is to make their needs or wants known. So Marvin might ask me, “Is there anything in particular that you want to watch today?” And I might think and say, “His name is Stitch,” which is a line from “Lilo and Stitch.” Or you might ask an autistic person where they would like to eat. And they might sing the jingle, or say the slogan of a certain restaurant. In this way, we’re using delayed echolalia to directly express ourselves and make our needs or wants known. And sometimes, when it comes to the expressive use of delayed echolalia, our communciation efforts can be hard to decipher. For example, an autistic person might say, “Do you want some juice?” when they mean “I’m thirsty” and not necessarily for juice. Or okay, Little Amythest storytime. In my first year at summer camp, I went up to the other girls in my cabin and I introduced myself by saying, “Amythest means a purple stone.” And I meant was, “What are your names?” But I was using something that I have heard and said before in the present moment trying to communicate and I was misunderstood. And in that way, it can be frustrating, especially for the autistic person trying to communicate. But also for the listener. And because autistic people think differently and because our brains make different associations And because sometimes the echolalia and language that we have available to us is limited. And that way, we can be misunderstood by people. So, depending on the context and the situation, an autistic person’s use of delayed echolalia could very well be an attempt to communicate or express themselves or interact. But again, like immediate echolalia, delayed echolalia is also used by autistic people just for ourselves. Personally, because it’s useful to us or helpful. It’s helpful or useful in much the same ways as immediate echolalia. It can be self-stimulantory or soothing to us. It can be a method of rehearsal. Allowing us to figure what we’re going to say and becoming more confident before we say it. It can be situational and just for fun. And that we see a poster of a movie that we really want to see And so we start reciting dialogue from the trailer just ’cause it makes us happy and we enjoy thinking about it. And delayed echolalia can be kind of…umm..what non-autistic people might call “talking to yourself.” A way to process your environment and what’s around you and what you’re thinking and feeling. In Conclusion This has been a video on the two main kinds of echolalia: Immediate echolalia and delayed echolalia. I hope this answers some of questions for you guys. And that my examples are reasonable to you. If you have a question that you would like answered in one of my “Ask an Autistic” episodes, feel free to post your question in the comment section down below or message it to me. And if you like my videos, please do give them a thumbs up and feel free to subscribe to my channel to catch more “Ask an Autistic.” I hope you guys have an awesome week and thank you for watching my video! [Theme song starts] I want a renaissance To shine a light Be the change we want Set things right We’ve been waiting in the dark For so long [Theme song ends]