Posted in Blogging, Mental Health

Things that make sense now that I realize I’m Autistic: Echolalia

I’ve always loved singing and will almost always sing along with whatever music happens to be playing. And when I sing along, I always adopt whatever accent the artist singing the song has.

I went through a Les Misérables phase in middle/highschool and the fact that I adopted an accent was extremely apparent during that phase because I always listened to the original London cast recordings.

My friends would point it out and make fun of me for it, but I couldn’t understand why they didn’t do it too. In my mind, the accent of the artist is part of how the song is supposed to sound. Not adopting the accent would be wrong.

This doesn’t just happen with music though. I have to be very careful when talking with other people not to slip into other accents. Either the accent of the person I’m speaking with or potentially an accent that I’ve picked up from a TV show or movie that I’ve recently seen. I pick up accents extremely quickly and will slip into them without even being consciously aware of it.

Words and phrases will get stuck in my head as well and will become a part of my vocabulary. I quote lines from books, or TV shows or movies quite frequently as part of conversation with others.

I literally just realized last night that all of this behavior is probably part of my Autism. It is probably part of something called Echolalia. The Bing search results for the definition of Echolalia were a bit insulting though.

echolalia
[ˌekōˈlālēə]
NOUN
psychiatry
meaningless repetition of another person’s spoken words as a symptom of psychiatric disorder.
•repetition of speech by a child learning to talk.

The repetition is not meaningless. It is an attempt to communicate. An attempt to connect. My (7 years younger than me) brother is also Autistic. He has an official diagnosis and everything, because he “looks like” what doctors expect to see when diagnosing Autism. Even with him “checking all the boxes” so to say, it took until his mid 20s to finally get his official diagnosis. He just turned 30 last October.

Anyway, my point in bringing up my brother is that he almost exclusively communicates through quotes from cartoons, or TV shows or movies, or through “scripts” that he has created referencing these things.

His communication style, my communication style is not “meaningless”. We are attempting to communicate and connect with the world around us in ways that make sense and are comfortable to us.

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