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#310 This Kid Doesn’t Play! Solutions for Common Problems…Echolalia


In this week’s podcast, we’re continuing the series This Kid Doesn’t Play! Solutions for Common Problems…Echolalia or Lost In Own Words Instead of Listening, Interacting, or Playing


Sometimes, despite our best efforts, young children with language delays don’t seem to want to play with us. This situation might look like a “behavior” problem, meaning that the child is purposefully choosing  not to play with  you. That’s not always the case. On this series of shows, I hope I can help you look at these problems from another perspective.

We’ll use this model for helping you address these issues:

  • Discussion of the problem
  • Similar or related situations
  • Possible explanations for why a child is behaving this way – it’s not the same reason for every child!
  • Multiple solutions for each problem

Listen to the previous shows in this series:

#303 Part One Mouthing Toys and Not Interacting with People

#304 Part Two Holds or Lines Up Toys Rather than Playing; Gets “Stuck” On Electronic Toys

#305 Part Three Prefers Screen Time; Sensitive To  Touch

#306 Part Four Uses an Adult’s Hand, Self-Stimulatory Behaviors, Throwing Toys, A Kid Who is In Constant Motion

#307 Part Five Short Attention Span and Aggression

#308 Part Six Difficulty with Transitions

#309 Part Seven Handling Tantrums and Meltdowns

Today we discussed this common problems:


During the show we defined and discussed echolalia, including the diagnostic implications, and strategies to help a child move from repeating you to using more spontaneous language.

Listen for solutions here:

Written summary:

1. For a child who seem to be stuck in her own words with jargon or echolalic utterances rather than tuning in to you, help her learn to engage and interact.

2. For a child who is using a word or phrase in a self-stimulatory way when she’s excited, model something she could say, such as, “Yay!” If she’s using the word or phrase to help calm or regulate, try modeling a phrase which might fit the situation better such as, “I need help,” or “I’m mad.”

3, For a child who seems to be trying to communicate with you saying echolalic sentences that don’t quite fit the situation, echolalia can give you an opportunity to know exactly what he or she is having difficulty learning. Echolalia can serve a purpose. Listen to the show or read more about echolalia here and here.

4. If you’re in doubt if your child is using a real word, ask your child’s speech-language pathologist what she (or he) thinks. Sometimes we have to reinforce a syllable your child uses before it really becomes a purposeful word, so keep trying!

If you’d like a written resource with this information, I have just the thing for you! This series is based on excerpts from the last chapter of my book Teach Me To Play WITH You. If you’re a therapist, this will be a fantastic tool to share with parents of children who exhibit these kinds of problems in play. If you’re a parent, this information will help you figure out what’s going on with your child and provide real life, practical solutions to help your little one learn to play with you and then, after interaction is better, learn to talk! (P.S. Don’t forget to use your special coupon code for podcast listeners to save $10 when you get the book!)

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