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What is echolalia?


Functional language serves a purpose and that purpose is communication. The basis of communication is to make the thoughts in the listener's mind match the thoughts in the speaker's mind. Echolalia serves a purpose as well. However, that purpose is not always to communicate with another individual. Many individuals who have autism often repeat phrases and parts of scripts from movies that they have seen. The repetition is excessive and it is often used for self stimulation. Other times echolalia is used to help ease stress and perform tasks. Echolalia can be used to help the individual organize his thoughts when entering a situation that may be confusing to him. For example, an autistic individual may say, "Everybody get in line," while approaching a check out counter in a store. The statement is used to help him navigate through the situation, not to communicate anything to another individual.



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