Echolalia may occur in response to distress, to support concentration, for enjoyment, or as communicative intent. This brief description offers tips and sample strategies located in the literature to shape echolalia into meaningful communication. The process includes tips and strategies that are not presented in any set sequence. Note: because the child demonstrates an understanding of motivational items/activities access the Answer: Teaching Requesting – Early Mand Training on this site.
I am a student working with a child with classic autism. This child is a seven year old male who is mostly nonverbal. His family and therapists are currently exploring whether PECS or ASL will be most functional for this child to develop language. However, the mother expressed that he does use echolalia occasionally, and often times with communicative attempt. For example, he repeats the phrase “only at Walmart” when he wants to go to Walmart. What are some strategies I can share with this family for expanding or shaping these behaviors into purposeful communication?