What does autism feel like: Echolalia

If you don’t know what echolalia is, here’s a great video explaining it:

I have the two kinds expressed in the video. I have the delayed kind and the immediate, instant kind. I will explain both.

instant echolalia

What does it feel like? Why do I have to do it? Why can’t I stop it? Echolalia for me, is mostly when I hear something cool in a movie. A quote, a sound snippet,… it can be anything that I like in the movie, or even something my girlfriend says that I can interject, to relive the moment.

That’s why I do this kind of echolalia, to relive the moment a few moments ago. Also, I think, to process all the sensory inputs of that moment, because it was overwhelming, all the sounds, the smell of the house, the action, the laughing that might occur after a funny moment with my girlfriend. Everything needs to be processed and I think that echolalia helps with that fact. Also, to create memories. It helps me to cement it in long term memory, so that even years later, I can still recall a memory by that quote or by that piece of sentence that someone might have said.

Delayed echolalia

Delayed echolalia can be a form of social scripting, which might make an aspie popular. I have this trait in common with my dad, although he used stand up comedians of his time, which I later discovered, thanks to an online radio station. I do it with standup comedians of my time, and movie quotes. Delayed echolalia is triggered maybe months or years after we heard the source material, and it is reusable, it’s not that we do it one time. Delayed echolalia can be a story that we tell when we are triggered by a certain word or sentence or emotion or something that provokes us to tell that story, any sensory input can trigger us to do it. The same with something from movies, I can get images if something triggers me, like for example as I’m writing this piece, I get images from the echolalia snippet from the movie “temple grandin” which perfectly explains it, in picture.


This scene (I know it’s bad quality) explains echolalia the best. We are so overwhelmed by certain images that we have to express it somehow. For me, when I get triggered with a memory of a certain standup comedian I will do the standup comedy bit ad verbatim, with all the gestures, or with a piece of movie, I will sometimes act the part, or just say the script, or explain the scene or it will trigger me to listen to the soundtrack.

Echolalia is linked to certain parts of the memory. I use it to memorize certain things, as I listen soundtracks often, I will be prompted with the scene the soundtrack is played in. Very vivid images come to mind then, as I can rewatch the movie in my mind.


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