Echolalia & The Final Month

Oliver’s “speech sky rocket” that I discussed in my last post has only continued. He has been imitating everything and it probably half of his words have evolved into echolalia.

For those unfamiliar with the term “echolalia”: meaningless repetition of another person’s spoken words as a symptom of psychiatric disorder.

His team of therapists and I have been working to steer him away from this, but it is a challenge. For so long, all we wanted was for him to speak. We wanted him to repeat what we said and, because of that, he is confused as to why we no longer want that. We’re giving him two choices and honoring the choice he makes (even if he is only repeating what we say), flipping words during choice making when he only chooses the last word in the sentence, and prompting him to make quiet choices. Through this work over the past couple of weeks, we are already seeing a decrease in repetition. This means that his words are being used to “appropriately” communicate.

In addition to his speech, grocery trips are much easier now. I don’t see restaurants or the like in our near future yet, but I look forward to that day.

Lastly, Oliver will turn 3 in 31 days. In other words, Oliver will no longer qualify for early intervention in 31 days. Thinking about his last day at his center breaks my heart. I have had the best experience with his early intervention center and every last person who has worked with him. He has made incredible progress. I can’t even imagine what life would look like in the present (and especially the future) for Oliver, had I not found his early intervention center. He will have been there for 17 months when he leaves. The center has become a second home. His team has become family. It is very sad to think about. I’m crossing my fingers that preschool will be just as good a fit for him.