Category Archives: parenting

Echolalia and Autism

Echolalia and Autism

 

Echolalia is the involuntary repetition of words or phrases spoken by others or heard through some type of medium. Echolalia is a phenomenon that is common among children with autism. While the typically developing child develops speech through imitation, these imitations quickly evolve into creative use of words to form language. For the child with autism and echolalic traits, this process may take much longer if it even happens at all.

Echolalia can be either immediate or delayed. In the case of immediate echolalia, the child repeats what is heard from others immediately. For example, the parent may ask, ‘How was school today?’ and the child repeats ‘How was school today’? In the case of delayed echolalia the child is repeating phrases he has been exposed to after hours, days, months or even years. For example, a child may repeat a phrase from a commercial that he finds interesting.

echolalia autism
A different form of communication

 

These repetitions can serve a variety of purposes to the child. In the case of immediate echolalia it may give the child more time to process a question or comment. In the case of delayed echolalia, certain sounds or phrases may be associated with certain emotions or experiences. During stressful times, repeating certain phrases may provide comfort. Other phrases may be repeated simply because they provide a combination of amusement and stimulation.

Many children with echolalic traits are fortunate to have them in comparison to those on the severe end of the autism spectrum. Echolalia can sometimes be a foundation for the ability to develop functional communication later in life. While these expressions may not make sense to most people, parents learn that it is still communication and need to adapt to its nuances. Over time they end up interpreting each phrase and the motivation and emotions associated with it.

Autism themed books by Mark Ferdinand. Fiction and nonfiction:

Fortune on the Spectrum

Denny was diagnosed with autism at three years of age. Autism gave him the gift of obsession. This gift made him the youngest, self-made millionaire in Texas history. Autism also made him vulnerable to the forces of the outside world, of both society and nature. Fortune on the Spectrum is the journey of an unstoppable young man, destined to succeed and challenged to survive. Denny’s story takes you through struggle, humor, love, finance and danger from the voice of an atypical mind. Autism Fiction. Texas Novel.

Autism Novel
Autism Novel
Autism Novel

The Autistic Prankster: Enjoying the Fun Side of Autism

We know about all the challenges. These stories focus on the fun and the funny side of autism. While he may not have typical communication skills, surprisingly this can be an asset in the humor department. Funny autism-related moments are a daily occurrence with this young character, and this book is a collection of the most memorable.

funny autism stories
funny autism stories
Fun autism stories

Books by Mark Ferdinand

Beyond paperback Mark’s books can be purchased for Kindle, Android, and Apple devices.

Autism and Obsessions

Autism and Obsessions

Shortly after our son turned three years old, he took interest in “advertising” to a new level of dedication. It started with a unique interest in commercials on television. It seemed unusual for such a little toddler to find them so interesting. Any kind of commercial would come on the screen and it would capture his interest. When the logo and tagline were finally shown, he would get giggly and touch the television screen.

“OK, he really seems to like commercials”, we thought. It seemed neat that he had such a fascination with something adult-oriented as opposed to Teletubbies or Barney the dinosaur. Little did we know at the time that this was a sign of being on the autism spectrum.

Our son was a late talker to be sure. After our move to Texas we were happy to know that he was making more of an effort to sound out words. At three years old, however, we had not yet brought him to a doctor to be diagnosed. We were still holding out hope, but after much Googling and research on “late talking” our suspicions were there.

Intel commercials and the associated chimes of “Bom… bom-bom -bom BOM!” were what made him happy. This was among his first serious vocalizations combined with a word. If an Intel commercial came on TV he would run to the screen and enjoy the anticipation of what was to come. When the logo and jingle finally came he was in heaven and chimed along. He would repeat the word “Intel” and sing the lovely chimes throughout the day. This, however, was the extent of his conversation skills.

autism obsession
Obsession Evolved

Logos of all kinds soon captured his interest. The satellite television company would come out with a new list of channels with tiny versions of their logos printed on a sheet of paper. He carried that sheet of paper everywhere as a typically developing child would carry their favorite toy. He took care of it, and if eventually it became worn or torn, we would have a backup from the Sunday paper. We were pleased that he had something that interested him and often joked that he had a future in advertising. There was a sense, however, that this was unusual behavior in a child.

More research on the web led to an understanding that with autism there is often unusual obsessions with seemingly mundane objects or occurrences. It was not long after this period of time that we took the step of bringing him in to the doctor’s office to see what they could make of it all.

Since this time our son has expanded his interests. He has passed his Intel phase. He still (and likely will always) have his obsessions, but we have seen them change over time. Even though it brought him a lot of pleasure, we are pleased that he has finally discarded the logo sheet. It is our hope that we can aid in channeling his interests and obsessions into something that gives him not just joy, but productivity and purpose in the future.

Autism themed books by Mark Ferdinand. Fiction and nonfiction:

Fortune on the Spectrum

Denny was diagnosed with autism at three years of age. Autism gave him the gift of obsession. This gift made him the youngest, self-made millionaire in Texas history. Autism also made him vulnerable to the forces of the outside world, of both society and nature. Fortune on the Spectrum is the journey of an unstoppable young man, destined to succeed and challenged to survive. Denny’s story takes you through struggle, humor, love, finance and danger from the voice of an atypical mind. Autism Fiction. Texas Novel.

The Autistic Prankster: Enjoying the Fun Side of Autism

We know about all the challenges. These stories focus on the fun and the funny side of autism. While he may not have typical communication skills, surprisingly this can be an asset in the humor department. Funny autism-related moments are a daily occurrence with this young character, and this book is a collection of the most memorable.

Autism and Fatherly Expectations

Autism and Fatherly Expectations

Fathers begin dreaming about the future when they find out they will be having a child. If a male child is born or is on the way, the hopes and expectations have a special focus. Since the phenomenon of autism affects boys on a much greater statistical level, it is important to recognize the way fathers deal with the news of having an autistic son.

A dad will entertain many fantasies, realistic or not, about the future of their sons. For many it involves sports. They may think of days playing catch in the yard, the boy scoring the winning touchdown, or playing for the Yankees. Other fathers may dream of chatting by the campfire, countless fishing trips and helping a son skin his first deer.

autism adventure
An Autism Adventure

Once a diagnosis of autism arises, a father must adjust to new realities. A boy with autism may have many challenges that prevent traditional father-son activities from becoming a reality, at least for the time being. This is certainly dependent on the degree of autism involved. Many of these activities are possible over time with certain children on the spectrum. And of course the autistic child has individual likes and dislikes like any child.

The important thing for fathers to remember is that they still have a son – a son that they can learn so much from. Once the ego is put aside and the personal dreams are adjusted, it becomes time to go to work, and to play! The child with autism will have his own interests and fathers can, and must, find ways to participate and encourage them. The child will recognize these efforts over time and also recognize fathers as someone close to them.

Life with autism is a new and unexpected journey. Your child will introduce you to new ways of thought and new ways at looking at life. Allow him to take you down these paths and help him along the way. All the traditional and most important father roles, however; leader, teacher, disciplinarian and comforter, still apply and will be needed.

Autism themed books by Mark Ferdinand. Fiction and nonfiction:

Fortune on the Spectrum

Denny was diagnosed with autism at three years of age. Autism gave him the gift of obsession. This gift made him the youngest, self-made millionaire in Texas history. Autism also made him vulnerable to the forces of the outside world, of both society and nature. Fortune on the Spectrum is the journey of an unstoppable young man, destined to succeed and challenged to survive. Denny’s story takes you through struggle, humor, love, finance and danger from the voice of an atypical mind. Autism Fiction. Texas Novel.

The Autistic Prankster: Enjoying the Fun Side of Autism

We know about all the challenges. These stories focus on the fun and the funny side of autism. While he may not have typical communication skills, surprisingly this can be an asset in the humor department. Funny autism-related moments are a daily occurrence with this young character, and this book is a collection of the most memorable.