Questions and Answers

Nadia Shanab | autism, general advice, parenting
20 Jul 2010

Some parents are e-mailing me some questions and I would like to share the answers with everyone.

Question 1: About Echolalia

How can I stop my child from repeating after me word to word?

Answer to question 1

Echolalia is one of the most common signs of autism. The child repeats after a person whatever is said to her/him, whether it is a question or a statement. Example: Mom asks the child: “Where is your sister?” The child echoes: “Where is your sister?” Instead of giving her an answer.

The child is willing to communicate, and wants to engage in a dialogue. But she/he is unable to process (think) fast enough to come up with her/his own words. So, the child opts for repeating, as a quick response. The proof is that the same child is sometimes able to answer properly. The child with echolalia doesn’t echo all the time.

What to do?

Work on communication and encourage speech as much as you can.

How to do it?

A- The concept is simple. Find something that the child loves or is very passionate about and make it unavailable.


B– Another idea to encourage communication is to create a dialogue between you and the child. Write it down and highlight the names: Mom, or Teacher and Child then take turns.

Find an excerpt of a dialogue.

C- If your child is receiving speech therapy at school, talk to the speech therapist and ask her/him to provide you with exercises or strategies to do at home. Consistency and communication is very important between home and school.

D- If your child is not getting any speech and language services at school, you need to find out about her/his eligibility and include speech and language services in her/his IEP (Individualized Education Program).

Important Note

Make sure to reward your child everytime she/he comes up with her/his own words.

Question 2: about sensory integration issues (tactile issues)

My child is twisting his arms and is making strange noises while he is doing this. What should I do?

Answer to question 2

Question 3: about sensory integration issue (vision)

My child covers his eyes with his arm, especially outdoor. What should I do?

Answer to question 3

Question 4: about a sensory integration issue (hearing)

My son covers his ears when he hears music or sees a balloon or a fire alarm. Why is he doing this?

Answer to question 4

Question 5

My child seems to be living in his own world, not aware of what surrounds her/him. What should I do?

Answer to question 5

Remember that autism comes from the Latin word “auto”, which means “self”. We know that children with autism are differently wired. This condition translates their neurological developmental disorder.

What to do?

Get him out of his world.

How to do it?

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