In which we Must Silence their Speech

A headshot of a person with a lock and chain over their mouth
A headshot of a person with a lock and chain over their mouth

This [(echolalia caused by the person enjoying saying the phrase)] is best addressed by distracting the child, cueing her to be quiet (putting a finger to your lips), then quickly pointing out something that is of interest to her, like a favorite toy

So, let’s ignore and make sure that we get rid of this echolalia thing because it is bothersome to us.  Now, I understand that the idea of “children should be seen not heard” exists, but again, just because it exists doesn’t make it right.

My problem with this is that that echolalia may be a form of communication.  They may be trying to communicate something, but if you distract them to make them stop, you are effective doing what the picture above does, you are putting their voice under lock and key (granted the picture is of a mouth, but I am developing a semiotic relationship between mouth and voice) that is controlled by you (See the P.S. if offended by my use of the term “you”).

If we put their voice under lock and key, we are robbing them of their agency (the ability to make choices that have an impact on something in the world) and of the opportunity to develop their identity and discover who they are.  If echolalia is a communication style (which it is, just maybe not a neurotypical communication style), then we must embrace and appreciate it with the same sensitivity we would show someone who’s culture is not our own.

P.S. I realize at this point that I keep using “you,” but that is not meant to be you as a reader.  I feel like the you may be directed towards the author.  I don’t really know who the you is, to be completely honest.  I just know that I don’t want to piss anyone off or offend by saying that any of you do this.  So, here’s a good rule of thumb, don’t read into the you, the you is just my way of saying “they & them”


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