Parent Blogs

Louise: J’s proud parent

STAGE 1 (When J was 2 years old) I had heard of echolalia, but J’s language never matched what I had been told about that. Echolalia is commonly (and wrongly) described as being meaningless parroting without understanding, and it was certainly never like that with J. When J first learned to speak, he was memorising hundreds of phrases and matching them perfectly to different contexts. It was like visiting a country where you don’t speak the language and getting by on what you can remember from a phrasebook. It still astounds me, the feat of memory and associative thinking it must have taken for J to do this so accurately while still only a toddler. Two-year-old J would run over to me saying “sit on my lap?” before clambering on to me, cupping my face in his hands and pressing his forehead firmly against mine as if he were trying to channel the whole world through me. “Sit on my lap” was the first thing that made me think he might be autistic. Pronoun reversal is known to be common in young autistic children. I remember reading about this reflecting a difficulty with “perspective taking” or “theory of mind”, a

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