Echolalia: Repeat After Me

About seventy-five percent of children on the autism spectrum use echolalia in some form. Echolalia is the tendency to repeat back, or “echo” what someone else has said. It’s also sometimes referred to as “parroting,” because of the way that parrots mimic human speech. For some time it was thought that this echoing of speech by children on the spectrum was completely nonsensical. But we’ve now determined that there usually is the intent to communicate, but the delivery gets confused along the way. Immediate Echolalia There are two types of echolalia: immediate and delayed. With immediate echolalia, the child will … Continue reading

“My Son Has Juvenile Diabetes and Autism.” A Mother’s Interview

The following interview is with Ammey, a mother whose children have multiple medical and cognitive conditions. Of particular interest to me is her situation with her oldest son, Khy, who has both juvenile diabetes and autism. Ammey responded to my blog, Do You Have BOTH Juvenile Diabetes and Autism in Your Family? Here is her story. 1. Tell us a little about your family. My name is Ammey, and I’ve been married for thirteen years to my husband Mikel. We have three children: Our son Khy is 14, Kaine is 11, and Lilli is four. Khy has autism, asthma, type … Continue reading

What is Semantic-Pragmatic Language Disorder (SPLD)?

Even though some children are verbal and can communicate with speech, they may have difficulties with the use of language and the “rules” of conversation in social situations. Although this is true of children on the autism spectrum, particularly those with Asperger’s Syndrome, some children do not have that full diagnostic picture and only exhibit the language difficulties seen in semantic-pragmatic language disorder (SPLD). Kids with SPLD are better at socializing but demonstrate problems with speech at an earlier age than kids with Aspergers. However, it may be very difficult to differentiate between the two diagnoses. What are semantics? Semantics … Continue reading

The Astonishing Musical Genius of Derek Paraviccini

“Music is an inherent part of the universe.” The human mind is mysterious indeed. For example, how is it possible that a 26-year old man who can’t count to ten and doesn’t know his own birthday—-a man who is blind, severely learning impaired, and autistic—-can also be a musical genius who plays thousands of complicated piano pieces with perfect skill and accuracy? Derek Paraviccini’s talents will truly astonish you. He was born three months early, a twin whose sister was unable to survive their early delivery. Derek nearly died three times after his birth but was resuscitated and kept alive. … Continue reading