My oldest son had an EEG to rule out the possibility of absence seizures, but not all kids with autism have an EEG. The official neurologist association guidelines say EEG should only be done "when indicated" for kids where developmental delay is suspected. Here's what they say about the indications:
"Indications for an adequate sleep-deprived EEG with appropriate sampling of slow wave sleep include (Level B) clinical seizures or suspicion of subclinical seizures, and a history of regression (clinically significant loss of social and communicative function)"
Source: American Academy of Neurologist's "Guideline Summary for Clinicians: Screening and Diagnosis of Autism."
Since repeating generally seems to be connected with working memory, one thing that might be interesting would be to see how your son performs on that type of task on a cognitive test, compared to how he performed the last time he was tested. Maybe you could convince the school to do new testing, at least that's free.
Within the last month I've noticed that my 11yr old (w/Aspergers') will say something and then either repeat it really quietly under his breath or repeat it silently and just mouth the same words. I've asked him about it but he doesn't even realize he's doing it. He has recently switched from Lexapro to Celexa and we added a small dose of Clonidine at night, I don't know if this is a side effect. Anybody else have these repeating instances?
My kids have had two different kinds of repeating.
One is repeating words or word-endings. I believe they do this to keep their train of thought while trying to formulate what they're going to say next, although my oldest sometimes seems to "hang onto" things that he said that he's particularly proud of or enjoys thinking about. I've asked my youngest son a couple times, "why did you say ocean- n- n?" (for example), and he was completely unaware of having done it.
The other is repeating specific phrases or slight variations of this phrase dozens of times a day for many days, even months. They were all emotionally charged phrases, connected with danger.
What you're dealing with is different, but you might be able to observe if he's repeating while trying to formulate his next statement, is pleased by his statement, or if these statements tend to be emotionally charged or more random.
Wouldn't hurt to run it past the prescribing doctor.
DD does this. You can barely hear her but she is repeating what she just said or what you just said in a whisper. I asked the ST what this was and she said it was reauditorization. --thinking out loud basically but that's interesting he doesn't realize he is doing it. I don't think she realizes she is doing it either but I would ask your dr about it too to be save. For dd, it looks like she is thinking out loud but in a whisper. But sometimes she will stim in a whisper, repeating something she said over and over again when she is bored or tired. She also will mouth the words sometimes. I was worried about it being seizures in dd but eegs are clear.
"Reauditorization" -- thanks, mamabear. I had never heard that term before.
I googled reauditorization plus autism and found a few things. It looks like it's connected with memory, and is actually a strategy that's taught actively sometimes, whereas other kids seem to discover this strategy on their own, perhaps without even being aware of it.
I'm thinking that they can't tell the difference between repeating something in their heads and repeating it with their lips -- consider this, some kids move their lips while reading, without really being aware of it.
Anyhow, here's the stuff I googled up. Not super helpful, but might inspire some new ideas or new ways of looking at this phenomenon.
The following is from an evaluation of a specific boy with autism, whose problems with phonologically driven working memory (ie remembering the sounds he heard), gave him trouble learning language and retaining information and made him avoid memory tasks.
"Furthermore, phonological processing is a critical ingredient in using reauditorization, rehearsal to keep information activated in working memory, i.e., to hold on to information until it can be made sense out of or downloaded (as with the NEPSY comprehension of instructions)."
From a discussion about verbal stimming. Unfortunately there was no link to the e-mail about talking out loud which is referred to here:
"Some think that it is their way of drowning out something else that is over stimulating. As what the last person wrote in her email about talking out loud. That is called reauditorization, and it is common in autism, and also common in children with central auditory processing disorders. For the exact reason she says, it helps them hear the words and process their meaning. I think that is why we need to really understand what is really "ok" and not ok for a child to be doing. My youngest does this and since he is CAPD, i would never try to extinguish it, but instead try to build is processing abilities"
"- Some students need extra time either to process oral language or to respond, or both."
" - Some compensation strategies can be taught to the student; including reauditorization (repeating information to oneself), writing down key words, using association strategies or other mnemonic devices."
"Auditory Memory and Working Memory"
"Requiringforward and backward repetition of the words, phrases, and sentences can help those with short term memory problems as well as those with sustained and shifting attention difficulties. Use felt squares on the table to “anchor” the sounds in sequence. I have used this process of repetition to increase the amount of information a client can hold in working memory. The process of forward repetition can teach the compensatory strategy of “reauditorization.” If you can develop your “internal tape recorder” you have a chance to replay and thus comprehend auditory information."
"Johnson and Myklebust focused on two types of expressive language problems relevant to children with learning disabilities: reauditorization deficits, or problems in word retrieval, and syntax deficits. For reauditorization deficits they suggested such things as rapid naming drills using real words."
(Johnson & Myklebust, 1967, p. 137).
You really do rock, Norway Mom. I couldn't ask for more info and yet you provided it. I am going to at least run it by his ped.. My hubby says he's noticed it for a long time whereas I have only seen it for a month. HELLO! Why didn't he mention it to me. I love my hubby, but I just think it's another thing that maybe guys just don't think is a big deal. Another mom mentioned her daughter's EEG results. Is this a normal test for Autism kids to have?My boy does it all the time. Especially when he is using a "big" word or a kind of clever statement. I can tell that he is trying to memorize it. It is like he is thinking to himself, just that it is audible. Heheh, ya this was one thing I did a bit, I recall several instances where I kinda knew I was doing it but didnt want anyone else to hear it. Typically after a discussion (and I only recall doing it after talking to mom or dad) I would go into another room where I thought nobody was around (and I dont recall doing this when I was younger but I am sure I did it) and usually repeat a word of phrase. Eventually mom must have overheard and said she knew I was doing it for years and never asked why. I told her I didnt really realize I was doing it, I was not awair of it until then. I kept doing it a bit but around middle school or sometime around then if my memory serves me correctly I stopped.