Echolalia and rhythm

  • There are two kinds of echolalia – immediate copying and repeated phrases from the past.
  • Repeated phrases from the past are usually associated with past traumatic events.
  • We can hear the voices that have hurt the person.
  • Respond not by repeating words but instead using the pitch and rhythm of the words.
  • Have a conversation through rhythm.


This series of short films shows an extended conversation  between Phoebe Caldwell (DSc, Expert Responsive Communication Practitioner who has worked with autistic people for 45 years) and Janet Gurney (BA, PGCT, Director of Training for Us in a Bus, a service based in Surrey that supports adults and children with profound and multiple learning difficulties and autism).