Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Echolalia is the repetition or echoing of verbal utterances made by another person. Up to 75% of autistics exhibit echolalia in some form, but it also affects the mentally retarded and schizophrenic to lesser degrees. It is also experienced by those with Tourette Syndrome.
The word "Echolalia" is derived from "Echo", to repeat and "Lalia", Greek (talk).
Types of Echolalia
The researchers have determined that immediate echolalia often was used with clear evidence of purposeful communication although this is not always the case.
Immediate echolalia appears to tap into the person's short-term memory for auditory input. This is defined as the repetition of a word or phrase just spoken by another person. Knowing the person very well would appear to be the key to understanding their specific intentions.
Delayed echolalia has been defined as the "echoing of a phrase after some delay or lapse of time". Persons with autism who repeat TV commercials, favorite movie scripts, or parental reprimands come to mind when describing this phenomena. It may or may not be communicative.
This condition appears to tap into long-term auditory memory, and for this reason, may be a different phenomenon from immediate echolalia. Because it can involve the recitation of entire scripts, delayed echolalia is often thought to denote evidence of near-genius intellect.
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