He has enjoyed riding his fancy, new bike outside our house. As I was watching him yesterday, he tumbled over while he was turning. He had been just walking and pushing the bike so he didn't hurt himself, but I helped him get the bike straight again, and he said, "It was embarrassing." Then as he pushed off again, he called out, "OK, lets's go again!" Wow, when did he learn about embarrassment!
I noted before that he has been repeating what we say. I only just realised that it's what is referred to in the autism books as echolalia. When I first read about it as one of the common traits of autism, my thoughts were "if only my child would say anything!" Duncan was then what is described as non-verbal. Today I looked at some NAS information on echolalia:
Echolalia ("parroting")I don't think this is the case with Duncan. When he repeats what we say, I think he is engaging, and communicating that he is part of the conversation. He is also, I think, trying to improve his vocabulary and pronunciation.
This is when a child repeats what they have heard rather than giving an appropriate response to what has been said to them. For example:
Mother: "Hello Tommy"
Tommy: "Hello Tommy"
When a child is using echolalia they are copying speech alone and showing no understanding of what has been said to them. Therefore it is most likely that the echolalia is not being used to show communicative intent.
He is also now commonly reversing his pronouns, like asking me to "put your shoes on" when he needs help with his trainers. Again, I'm delighted that he has progressed to being able to communicate so well and am confident that he, like his siblings, will eventually figure out this difficult aspect of grammar.
One thing he does communicate frequently these days, in perfect English, and to my delight, is an emotion I had been told he would never be able to express without x,y or z expensive therapy. Every day, many times, he is unknowingly breaking down stereotypes when he tells me "I love you Mummy." I don't think I'm breaking any stereotypes, but I always answer with a huge grin, "I love you too Duncan."