Article published in:The Conversation Frame: Forms and functions of fictive interaction
Edited by Esther Pascual and Sergeiy Sandler
[Human Cognitive Processing 55] 2016
► pp. 343–361
Echolalia as communicative strategy
Fictive interaction in the speech of children with autism
We explore how fictive interaction (Pascual 2002, 2014), manifested as echolalia (i.e. prior speech repeated verbatim), is successfully used by autistic children as a compensatory strategy in conversation. We video-recorded four Brazilian autistic children between the ages of 4 and 12 in interactions with adults in weekly therapy sessions. We found that these autistic children do not use direct speech to represent prior speech only, as in ordinary reported speech. Instead, they use direct speech to make mental contact with past (types of) communicative situations. Reenactment is used fictively as a means of expressing needs, describing situations, and referring to people, animals, and events. These fictive quotations may reflect socio-communicative or socio-cultural knowledge, or experiences with prior specific interactions.
Keywords: autism, echolalia, literal quotation, metonymy
Published online: 01 November 2016
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