Echolia can occur in both children and adults, but is especially common in children with autism. People with this disorder tend to repeat words or sounds heard, and have a lot of difficulty using language for communication purposes.
What is Echolia?
Echolia is a disorder in which people tend to repeat the words and sounds they hear. This condition is common in children with autism and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). People with parody will have a lot of difficulties in life because when asked questions, they will repeat other people’s questions instead of giving answers.
In fact, children under the age of 3 who are learning to speak will tend to imitate the words of those around them. In the process of language development, children will gradually learn to understand other people’s words and give appropriate answers. However, if parodying occurs in older children and adults, it may be a sign of parody.
Parodynia can be confused with Tourette’s syndrome. However, people with this syndrome will often say random sentences (unintentional pronunciation) or scream in an unusual way. Meanwhile, people with parodynia tend to imitate other people’s words and still have the ability to control their own words.
Communication is essential for children to develop knowledge, interact with people and expand relationships. If children have problems related to language (including spoken and written language), children will face a lot of obstacles in life. Therefore, when realizing that the child shows signs of parody, the family should let the child see the doctor early to have timely intervention measures.
Signs to recognize parody (Echolalia)
As already mentioned, the hallmark of parodynia is the repetition of words or sounds heard by the patient. Some patients will have an immediate repeat reaction. However, there are also cases of delay for a while (from a few hours to a few days) then repeat the sound.
If paying attention, the family can recognize early signs of abnormalities in the patient. In addition to repeating speech and audible sounds, people with parodynia also have a number of other symptoms such as:
- Don’t like communication
- Irritability (especially when others question themselves)
- Feeling bored, sad
- Feeling uncomfortable, happy to communicate
- Some people have a completely silent expression when communicating with others
Families can detect parody early in children who have immediate repetitive responses after hearing sounds. Delayed repetitions are often more difficult to spot. In these cases, it takes the family and those around them a very long time to realize the abnormality.
Classification of parody
Speech parody (Echolalia) is divided into 2 types: Functional Echolalia/Interactive Echolalia and Non-interactive Echolalia. Each type will have distinct clinical manifestations.
1. Interactive Echolalia
Interactive echolalia refers to a condition where a person with parodynia is still interactive when communicating with others. This type has a better prognosis because the patient still has the need to communicate and interact with people around.
Manifestations of Echolalia interact:
- Often use phrases instead of complete sentences.
- Tends to repeat phrases or sentences that other people often say. For example, parents often praise children for being so good at completing tasks, children will repeat this statement over and over while performing assigned tasks.
- I don’t know how to express myself. Instead of asking explicit questions, children often sing or say sentences related to the issue they are interested in. For example, instead of asking the mother if she can drink milk, the child will sing a song related to milk or repeat a milk commercial on TV to express his desire.
- Instead of saying affirmations, children often ask themselves questions to express their desires. This situation is repeated over and over, making it easy for those around to recognize the abnormality. For example, instead of asking for lunch, your baby will say, “Do you want lunch?”.
Interactive echolalia is a parody with a good prognosis. Because the patient still has interaction with the other party and more or less still knows how to use words for communication purposes.
2. Echolalia is not interactive
In contrast to interactive Echolalia, people with non-interactive Echolalia have almost no interaction with their partner. The patient’s words are not made for communication purposes but for personal purposes (self-motivation, reminder, …). The non-interactive form of Echolalia is easier to recognize but has a worse prognosis than the other form.
Signs of non-interactive echolalia:
- Frequently mumbling statements unrelated to the current situation or situation. For example, children often repeat sentences from a movie or TV show while sitting in class. In this case, the child’s words are made for the purpose of reminding and influencing themselves rather than for communication purposes.
- Patients often have outbursts of speech in certain situations. For example, when children see a certain product in a store, they will unconsciously sing a promotional song or mutter the product’s slogan.
- Tends to rehearse before face-to-face interaction. This means that children often mutter phrases or sentences to themselves a few times, then respond in a normal voice.
- Constantly mumbling to yourself the process of doing something. For example, when washing hands, children will mutter phrases related to hand washing steps in their heads like “Turn on the faucet. Open water. Wet hands. Get soap. Rub evenly. Wash. Dry”. The child will continuously mumble until the action is completed.
Some people with Echolalia don’t know how to express their emotions. Instead of saying words that match their mood, children often use sayings they have heard on TV to express their feelings. For example, when children watch TV and see a character expressing anger with a certain statement. When the child is angry, the child will repeat the statement to the other person even though the statement is completely out of context.
Causes of Parodying (Echolalia)
Parodying is not always unusual. When starting to practice speaking, children will have expressions of parodying the words of those around them. However, by the age of 3, this condition will gradually decrease and disappear completely.
At present, experts have not yet determined the cause of echolalia. However, through studies, several risk factors have been identified including:
- Have neurodevelopmental disorders such as autism, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, etc.
- Severe psychological trauma leads to speech and communication disorders, even being mute.
- Head injury
- Severe memory loss
Parodynia can occur in both children and adults but is more common in young children. Echolalia in children have a better prognosis than in adults. With timely intervention, children can improve their language skills and reduce obstacles in communication and life.
What obstacles does parody cause?
In life, communication is an indispensable part of any relationship. Communication does not have to be verbal but can be expressed in body language and writing. However, speech is still the main and most commonly used medium. Therefore, any speech-language disorder can interfere with communication and quality of life.
People with echolalia have a hard time expressing their own desires and thoughts. Instead of expressing easily through words, the patient will ask questions or mutter related phrases and statements. This makes the people around do not understand their wishes and do not respond to their requests.
In the long run, people with parody may avoid communication because communication is not nearly as effective. Limited communication also makes children slow to learn, not knowing how to make friends and maintain relationships. In addition to the effects on communication, parody also increases stress, depression, and anxiety disorders.
Diagnosis of parody
Speech parody needs to be diagnosed early for timely intervention. Often, the specialist will talk to the patient to identify abnormalities in communication. Then, we will conduct screening for factors that can increase the risk of disease such as autism, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, history of head trauma, etc.
The doctor will discuss more with the family to understand the abnormalities of the child in the process of communicating with people around. Echolalia will be graded and graded so that the most appropriate treatment can be found.
Treatment methods for parody
Speech parody is often treated with a combination of different methods for optimal effectiveness. Methods to be considered include:
1. Speech therapy
Speech therapy is the preferred choice for speech parody (Echolalia). The therapist will rely on the patient’s symptoms to find the right intervention. Speech therapy includes a wide variety of methods and techniques. However, the main goal of this therapy is to help patients improve their language ability and know how to use language for communication purposes.
The degree of improvement with speech therapy varies from patient to patient. If actively treated, language ability will more or less improve. In addition to the efforts of the therapist and the patient, the family should also support the treatment process to bring about the best results.
2. Drug use
Echolalia can cause patients to experience stress, anxiety, depression, etc. Therefore, doctors will consider giving patients some drugs to improve their mood. Medicines do not help with echolalia but will help patients stabilize their mood and be more open to speech therapy.
Medications that can be used for slurred speech (Echolalia):
Medicine is considered a supportive measure besides the main method of speech therapy. Therefore, the drug will usually be used for a short time to minimize side effects.
3. Support measures
In addition to the primary methods, families can help patients with parodynia improve their language with a number of supportive measures. Families can research supportive methods to educate children at home or can send children to speech therapy centers.
Supportive measures are especially effective with children with autism. Although the education of children will have many difficulties, in general, the role of the family is extremely important. Cases with active support from the family will respond well, language ability is significantly improved and children begin to be able to use language for the right purpose.
Echolia causes many obstacles in life. Early recognition and treatment is the only solution that can improve symptoms, help patients develop language skills and improve quality of life. For cases of autism, families should have combined measures to help children comprehensively develop aspects from language to thinking, behavior, emotions, etc.