Affiliation: University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Other Affiliation: Oklahoma State University
Other Affiliation: Virginia Tech
Background & aimsEcholalia, the repetition of one's or others? utterances, is a behavior present in typical development, autism spectrum disorder, aphasias, Tourette's, and other clinical groups. Despite the broad range of conditions in which echolalia can occur, it is considered primarily through a disorder-specific lens, which limits a full understanding of the behavior.MethodEmpirical and review papers on echolalia across disciplines and etiologies were considered for this narrative review. Literatures were condensed into three primary sections, including echolalia presentations, neural mechanisms, and treatment approaches.Main contributionEcholalia, commonly observed in autism and other developmental conditions, is assessed, observed, and treated in a siloed fashion, which reduces our collective knowledge of this communication difference. Echolalia should be considered as a developmental, transdiagnostic, and communicative phenomenon. Echolalia is commonly considered as a communicative behavior, but little is known about its neural etiologies or efficacious treatments.ConclusionsThis review is the first to synthesize echolalia from a transdiagnostic perspective, which allows for the direct comparisons across and within clinical groups to inform assessment, treatment, conceptualization, and research recommendations.ImplicationsConsidering echolalia transdiagnostically highlights the lack of consensus on operationalization and measurement across and within disorders. Clinical and research future directions need to prioritize consistent definitions of echolalia, which can be used to derive accurate prevalence estimates. Echolalia should be considered as a communication strategy, used similarly across developmental and clinical groups, with recommended strategies of shaping to increase its effectiveness.