Echolalia is a disorder of repeating the words, phrases, and sentences of what others have said. It is a sign of brain damage or psychiatric disorders. People with this condition may or may not be able to communicate normally because they struggle to express their own thoughts.
It ranges from minor to severe. Echolalia is often associated with children, who are diagnosed with autism. Nevertheless, there are many other disorders and diseases, which have echolalia as its symptom. These are described as follow;
Autism and Echolalia
It is most commonly associated with autism. Autistic children are often seen to repeat what they hear, instead of replying back. Studies have also revealed that the reason behind this repetition is to stay in a conversation. This is because they still have not been able to develop the language process of their own. Moreover, they cannot produce their spontaneous speech to express their feelings, and repeat what they hear.
Aphasia and Echolalia
Aphasia is another disorder in which the people commonly suffer from echolalia. It is a disorder due to brain damage.
In this condition, the patient is unable to understand speech in its written or spoken form. Therefore, without knowing what he/she is speaking, the patient just imitates what is heard. The speech is unclear and the language function deteriorates gradually.
Dementia and its association with Echolalia
Dementia is a persistent and long-lasting disorder of the mental process. It is caused by a brain injury or a brain disease. Patients suffering from this condition are often seen to have weakened reasoning, memory ailment, and echolalia. They lose their comprehensive ability. Moreover, they fail to produce their own speech and only repeat what they hear.
Epilepsy and Echolalia
The patient experiences seizures when the brain experiences neurological disorders due to loss of perception and sensory disturbances which occur suddenly. Often, echolalia is a phenomenon that epilepsy patients are found with. Epileptic seizures are episodes which can vary from transitory and nearly unnoticeable periods to long periods of vigorous shaking.
Schizophrenia and its association with Echolalia
Schizophrenia is a debilitating disorder which is long-lasting and severe in nature. A person suffering from this disease experiences psychotic signs.
In this condition, he/she is unable to distinguish between real and the unreal things and is out of touch with reality. Along with hallucination, delusion and other likely symptoms, echolalia too is a sign of schizophrenia. In most of its cases, the patients are seen suffering from the delayed echolalia in which the patient imitates whatever he hears, after hours, days or even weeks.
Catatonia Schizophrenia and Echolalia
Catatonic schizophrenia is another type of schizophrenia which is characterized by disruptions in an individual’s movement. In this disorder, the patient in a disturbed mental state moves and behaves strangely.
Moreover, this type is characterized by no movement and a euphoric phase. The patients suffering from this disease and those in the euphoric phase are often found to have echolalia. Therefore, they repeat whatever is heard.
Echolalia and Tourette’s syndrome
The very disorder called Tourette’s syndrome is a very noticeable example of echolalia. Tourette syndrome is a neurological disorder which is characterized by repetitive, stereotyped, involuntary movements and vocalizations called spasms. In this illness, the patient repeats whatever he listens to.
Apart from these conditions, Pick’s disease, corticobasal degeneration, pervasive developmental disorder, and progressive supranuclear palsy are some other illnesses which have echolalia as an associated symptom.