Echolalia refers to persistent and inappropriate repetition or echoing of heard speech, either immediately or after a brief delay. The individual may repeat a single word or a phrase. For example, if someone says, “Let's walk over here,” a child might echo, “here” or “Let's walk over here.” This behavior is usually associated with Tourette's syndrome, schizophrenia, or dementia, but most commonly occurs in children with autism. Echolalia may also be associated with focal brain injury or other developmental or neurological disorders, although this is not typical. While toddlers are notorious for imitating heard speech, this strategy for language acquisition is both purposeful and fleeting. In contrast, echolalia occurs at later stages of development, including adulthood, and may be involuntary. Use of this term indicates ...

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