Here is the follow-up article posted from the beginning of November: “What is Echolalia?”
Now that we have learned some information about Echolalia and the factors in helping to identify if your child has Echolalia…. It’s time to learn some strategies for what to do with it! I have a found a great blog that provides some helpful tips to start treating Echolalia: http://teachmetotalk.com/2008/06/02/echolaliawhat-to-do-about-it/
Treating Echolalia can be a very difficult task. Your child repeats exactly WHAT you say and exactly HOW you say it. Instead of trying to teach Echolalic children the “typical” way, you will be reversing roles. YOU as a parent or caregiver will model the language for your child exactly how your child would say it (child’s point of view). This technique goes against everything we have been taught but the idea is for your child to use language independently and functionally. In the blog post, you find a variety of strategies to treat Echolalia but I will be explaining the first three strategies below. Let’s get started!
- Model all words and phrases from the point of view of your child. If your child is only using one word, then only require an imitation of one word. Allow your child to imitate words and phrases he/she understands. Here are some examples:
- Narrative Play: BEST WAY! As you play with your child using objects or toys, model language for them. Since your child is Echolalic, in most cases they will repeat the words and phrases you said. This is the best way for your child to use functional language.
- Books: As you read books, point out the pictures and label them as you go. Start with one word and then slowly increase to short phrases as your child begins to “echo” more. If your child refuses to point, take his hand and point for them and then pause, giving your child the opportunity to “echo” back. This is a great way for your child to build vocabulary. Make sure to not overuse this activity, since it’s not the best strategy for functional language.
- Refusing items: If your child refuses an item/activity, model words like “No or Don’t like it”.
- Try not to start with questions like “Do you want the … ?” because in most cases your child will begin their responses with “Do you want the ….? As you see your child reach for an item, label it and then model the phrase “I want the (blank).
- As your child begins to advance in their language you can begin to work on presenting choices. Again, stay away from the “Do you want” questions. Hold up the two items in your hands and state the items (making sure there is no intonation change in your voice) and once the child makes a choice say “(Childs name) wants the…….. blank”. Once your child completes the phrase by labeling the item, reinforce the language used by giving them the item.
These are only a couple examples of the strategies you can start implementing at home. Echolalia is still very difficult to treat and will not be a quick fix. The examples above provide a new way of treating Echolalia from the child’s point of view and using language functionally. Please consult with your Speech and Language Pathologist if you have any further questions or concerns. I hope you find this two part post about Echolalia helpful.
-Chelsea, Speech Therapy Team