After the recent Echolalias post, Chris was reminding me that there are two more subtypes of echolalia that I forgot to mention.
A subtype, really, of Musical Echolalia, where Ben repeats a phrase over and over because he thinks it’s funny. Unlike Echolalia as Laugh Line, he does this merely for his own enjoyment and not to elicit a response from us. A current favorite includes the expression, “Yeechhh!” from the Thomas story, Dirty Objects. Earlier this summer it was, “Oh man, that’s GOOD Ben!” which his cousin Liam said while they were drinking water from the lawn sprinkler one day.
Catch Phrase Echolalia
Ben attaches catch phrases to many of the people in his life and repeats the catch phrases incessantly when those people are around. Usually the catch phrases are based on something the person says Ben finds funny.
Grampy Bill’s catch phrase is “Yuck!” after a game that he and Ben once played that involved shouting this and throwing pillows.
Grandma’s catch phrase is “You’re a little dickens!” which is something that she says that he finds wildly funny.
Grandpa’s is a falsetto, “Boo!” which he has said to Ben since he was an infant.
Nana’s catch phrase is, “Yo baby, yo baby, go, go go!” which was a song she made up about his yogurt one day.
His cousin Liam’s catch phrase is “I like to move it, move it,” based on some pop song that I don’t know because I am over 18.
His friend Oliver’s catch phrase is “No!” after a game they played when they were barely two years old that involved running around the house, shouting “No!” and laughing uproariously. It was captured on video at the time, which only adds to its staying power.
His friend Justice’s catch phrase is “Bye, bye, Boopity!” for reasons that escape me entirely.
What distinguishes this kind of echolalia is that it's clearly about intimacy and relationship. He uses these catch phrases to connect with people and show that he cares about them, not having the language or behaviors that would accomplish this in a more typical way. The catch phrase is an attempt to communicate that the person is special, memorable and within his inner circle.
The adults love it. His friends and cousins are starting to find it a bit mystifying and perhaps even a bit annoying, but seem to humor him the way that people humor the office comedian or class clown who has a nickname for everyone.
Perhaps they’ll understand one day that it’s the ultimate term of endearment.