I think this week we'll explore the annoying side of autism. This isn't the sad or disheartening things that can come along with a diagnosis of ASD, rather the get under your skin until you pull your hair out side of things. This comes with echolalia.
I've talked about echolalia in past columns, but I will try to explain it in a nutshell. I'm raising a human tape recorder. Jen and I watch our every word because Konner will mock everything. In fact he's so good at it he sounds eerily like us sometimes.
For those of you thinking that all kids repeat things, let me explain that he says them verbatim, and sometimes for weeks at a time.
According to a site I was researching lately echolalia serves a communication purpose for the child, and it’s not just way to try and frustrate people, it can help you to see it from the child’s point of view. This is probably true. Usually, and in the past, Konner has seemed to use this uncontrollably. It's almost as if something has taken control of his body and he just does it.
However, lately he has really enjoyed mocking me and his brother.
As we know, children on the spectrum have a hard time with emotions. This can get them in trouble at times as they mock or laugh when someone is crying or hurt. As Kruz has hit a stage where he gets mad and cries, this has been amplified in our house. Of course mocking Kruz when he cries makes him mad and he cries and yells more. Then Konner mocks more, and it's a vicious cycle.
He's also started doing this thing where he mocks the most annoying parts of shows or videos that he's been watching. He will pick the highest pitch, or the most irritating phrase and say it in rapid-fire style for as long as you let him. When I tell him to stop his answer is always the same. He responded by letting me know that someone else said it first. For example; "But Spongebob said it," "But Patrick said it," "But Kruz said it." That phrase, "But ___ said it," haunts me in my dreams at night.
I decided to show him how annoying it was by mocking him, and of course now he mocks me saying it; "But Spongebob said it, but Patrick said it, but Kruz said it."
I used to tell him that he could say it one more time and then he was done. That actually still works sometimes, but lately he's been repeating out of spite. I know this because I said the other day, "Konner you're just doing that to irritate me."
He replied, "How did you know?"
I guess one thing, good or bad, is that it makes you rethink everything you say.