I was going through my twitter postings by others and came across this link:
What caught my attention to this link and blog? Well its story hit home and it brought back memories. Happy thoughts ran through my head. I can clearly remember when Puppy was 4 years old and just learning to speak. I would point at objects and say their name several times until he let out a whisper of something that sounded similar to my words.
Whenever I’d pick him up from daycare, I’d do a routine of asking him how his day went, what did he eat, and what did he do? He would mostly stare out the window from his car seat view in silence. But then one day he said, “T.V.” and “play”, and I recall a grin on his face. I promise it was as if he knew we were having a conversation. Or…maybe it was the big deal I made because now I was the one repeating his words.
We slowly began to repeat each others words more often. Very much like the blog I added by link above, I would say, “Good morning, Puppy” and he would repeat it back to me. He’d speak my words like, “you want apple?” and point at himself to let me know he wanted an apple. Puppy did this so well that he developed a talent of copying or mimicking.
One day in class, at 5 years old, his teacher told me she was asking a student to stop screaming and finally turned around to find her sitting quietly in her chair. Then she turned to find my son mimicking her scream in the same tone and pitch as the other little girl often did. She was surprised, but then learned that he was doing something he learned off each student in his class, she just hadn’t noticed it before that day.
It didn’t stop there, but in a way I have to be thankful it didn’t. He has learned through repeating and mimicking both words and actions. Puppy is a visual learner and it helps him to do exactly as you need him to do. Except for one problem, the poor behaviors also transmit to him in the same manner. If only I could block the bad behaviors from every reaching him. It is just wishful thinking on my part.
Nonetheless, Puppy is doing wonderfully these days and I can see that the good behaviors are overriding the poor ones. Plus, we are also having many conversations, too. Something my pessimistic self didn’t expect was going to happen.
Note added after blog was posted: Years later, I have learned that some of this verbal repeating has a name: echolalia. And about 85% of children with autism use this as a means to learn verbal communication.