Language and Societies

ANT/LIN 5320 at Wayne State University

Echolalia within Children with Autism

Echolalia within Children with Autism

Crystal Mitchell

For decades scholars have researched the significance of echolalia or repetition of speech within children with autism. Over the years, just as the understanding and classification of autism has changed, so has the meaning of the presence of echolalia and what that entails in light of communicative ability. This paper will investigate key scholars and their thoughts surrounding children with autism who express echolalia and whether or not they believe it serves as proof of real language ability within those adolescents. Through the investigation of ethnographies and various research studies of discourse analyses by these key scholars, this paper will highlight various findings and advancements in autism studies and language development thus leading to various changes in beliefs over the years. Audiences will recognize a drastic change in ideas, as they navigate from the earlier work of Fay (1969) which showcased echolalia as insignificant to the development of language, to beliefs from scholars like Sterponi (2014) whose later historical findings place echolalia as potential evidence of language ability. In this journey through history, the results following the various research have been key in identifying next steps that continue to lead future scholars towards more findings on this path of discovery of language ability.

April 11, 2016 - Posted by | abstract


  1. This topic is very interesting. Autism has been a topic of interest recently and this is evident with more children being diagnosed. I have worked with children with autism and I think it is important to know what researchers find. I think it is important for us to understand current and past research on this topic because there has been so much debate especially with the language aspect of the disorder. It will be interesting to see how the past and current research differs and what future researchers will find.

    Comment by Kristy Estabalaya | April 25, 2016 | Reply

  2. Crystal, this research is intriguing! How did you develop this topic, and what were your motivations to pursue this? Did your findings suggest a link or do you believe echolalia is caused by something else entirely? I just did some work for my Bio & Culture class on the topic of vaccines (hinting at the myth that autism is caused by them) and I would be curious to find out more. Looking forward to reading this article!

    Comment by Kayla J. Hurd | April 26, 2016 | Reply

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