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4yo whispering and repeating things?

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#1 Baggy

Posted 28 December 2012 - 03:59 PM

I'm finding this hard to explain. DD tends to whisper a lot of the things she says out loud to herself.

For example she would say "I'm going to draw a picture" and then she would whisper "draw a picture" to herself.

She generally doesn't like loud noises if they aren't 'normal' to her. For example my SIL (7yo) had a noisy remote control car on Christmas and Ruby didn't like the noise - so she hid in the bathroom until we put the car away. She doesn't like doing anything that 'could' be dangerous - like climbing slides that are too high or going past her ankles in the sea. She can be pretty anxious  and shy at times.

I was just wondering if her anxiousness and her strange whispering are related?

And if anyone else children do this? If they do - is it anything to worry about? Or is it usually just a phase.


#2 mpoppins92

Posted 28 December 2012 - 06:07 PM

I know a similar four year old, who would whisper things after he said them and also keep whispering peoples names or phrases from a conversation that he wasn't actually apart of;

E.g. Me: I heard mel moved house
Mum of child: Yes she was really happy to be in her own place
4 year old would then whisper *Mel's new house* a few times

Turned out he has a problem with auditory processing and he said these things because it was easier to remember when he said it in his own voice. He was also a bit anxious, but I don't really know if the two were related. Not sure if that's what your looking for, he had other signs such as not being able to follow many instructions, being uncomfortable around loud noises and speech difficulties. Then again I have met many many shy kids of that age, in fact most kids of that age I have come across in my work have been shy, I think the shyness could be an age thing.

#3 Kalota

Posted 29 December 2012 - 07:42 AM

Hi OP, it sounds like echolalia - I'm a teacher and throughout the years I've had a couple of echolalic children who do the same thing! It could be due to a number or things, or it could be a totally random phase that will pass. Echolalia is a normal phase of human language development, but usually with children younger than 3 or 4, so it could be indicative of a language disorder or ASD. Or it could just be a phase, like I said original.gif

Here's some info on echolalia:


If you google it heaps of links come up!

It's interesting you say that she whispers it as well, that is not uncommon at all I've found. I had an echolalic little boy this year who would whisper the part of every sentence I said to him. E.g. "What are you having for lunch?" He would whisper under his breath "having for lunch..."

Edited by Kalota, 29 December 2012 - 07:44 AM.

#4 Baggy

Posted 29 December 2012 - 08:41 AM

Thank you both for your replies I found them really helpful original.gif

Should I just wait it out and see if it passes? Or is it something I should get checked out?

#5 cinnabubble

Posted 29 December 2012 - 08:45 AM

This is my totally uninformed opinion, but I'd get it checked out. Not only to put your mind at rest, but if she needs some kind of therapy/assistance/whatever it'll be easier to manage before she starts school than after.

#6 babychacha

Posted 29 December 2012 - 08:55 AM

I would get it checked out too.

#7 ~ Summers

Posted 29 December 2012 - 09:02 AM

I did the same thing as a kid but I was completely unaware of it. It used to drive my family nuts. It was pretty subtle to most people though.

I was recently diagnosed by my uni with ADD, and with an Auditory Processing Disorder. The latter condition makes me very sensitive to strange and loud noises. I can't stand them. A dog barking isside is physically painful to my ears, for example as is a vacuum cleaner.

The auditory processing condition was attributed to my whispered (or even just silently mouthing) repetition of phrases. It was something to do with me trying to keep the information in my head so that I could follow instructions/ not forget what I was doing and process the information properly.

I also used to say "what?" a lot even when I had 'heard' what ha been said. I just hadn't processed the instructions properly in a way I could comprehend them. I was taken to an audiologist for this reason when I was about 13, but of course it showed that my hearing was 'fine', though compromised a bit with background noise ( kids with APD also get distracted by background noise.)

It is really best you take note of anything you think is relevant (such as the whispering) and get her assessed - but *don't* just take her to an audiologist. They only take note of if you have hearing loss, and consequently I really struggled all through school and was often punished for things outside my control.

Good luck OP.
I am not entirely correct about not seeing an audiologist. I should correct that to see an educational and developmental psych first, then later get we tested for an audiologist who tests her hearing generally and specifically tests for APD. Mine didn't test for this, just determined that I could hear perfectly in 'ideal' environments which is typical for kids with APD.

Edited by Summers., 29 December 2012 - 09:11 AM.

#8 Therese

Posted 29 December 2012 - 09:17 AM

I would get it checked out as well.

#9 Kalota

Posted 29 December 2012 - 12:28 PM

I would get it checked out as well, because mostly echolalia is associated with different kinds of language difficulties. Also since your DD experiences discomfort with loud noises and anxieties associated with some activities, I would probably investigate it a little further original.gif Like I said it could be a passing thing, but you never know if it is part of a language disorder or autism to some degree, so it's best to investigate!

#10 Baggy

Posted 30 December 2012 - 07:26 AM

Thank you everyone.

I'll book an appointment for Wednesday or Thursday and see what the GP has to say.

#11 Super Cat

Posted 30 December 2012 - 07:37 AM

DS used to do this at the same age. He also had hyperacusis  (over sensitive hearing) especially with regard to mechanical sounds (motors, robots) and had generalised anxiety disorder. It seemed to stop once we got the anxiety under control but it might have been just a maturity thing too. BTW this is my DS who is not on the ASD spectrum.

#12 podg

Posted 30 December 2012 - 07:56 AM

I'm not sure if I should have a diagnosis, but I still repeat some things back under my breath. It feels to me like testing the pronunciation, or rolling the words around in my mouth.

DH often swears he's had a conversation with me about something which I have no recall of. Repeating phrases probably does help with memorisation and testing meaning.

I must have had OK attention and processing as a kid/student - I'm a doctor.

#13 SuboptimallyPooks

Posted 30 December 2012 - 07:56 AM

Great you are going to investigate OP. It's definitely something that a few parents have told me they noticed in their younger child, wrote it off as a quirk, and later look back and think hmmm that was a big warning sign that we overlooked. The way I see it, there is no harm done by investigating and getting the result that it's nothing to worry about, but there is potentially a lot to gain by picking up on stuff early.

#14 baddmammajamma

Posted 30 December 2012 - 03:54 PM

I am really heartended that so many people have encouraged you to get things checked out, Baggy. IMHO, it's always better to err on the side of caution when you have concerns.

Just a little extra piece of advice: Some GPs have very strong knowledge about developmental norms (ours is spectacular!) and others don't. Some GPs are very happy to refer on to a specialist, while others might not take concerns seriously (sadly, lots of anecdotes from the SNs board on this score). Hopefully, yours will "hear" your concerns and suggest some concrete next steps.

If I were you, I'd make a list of the various things that are of concern (like the sound sensitivities, tantruming, and repeating phrases etc.) and the extent to which they are affecting Ruby's daily functioning.

For a comprehensive assessment, your best bet is probably either a good developmental paed or a good psychologist.

Good luck!

Edited by baddmammajamma, 30 December 2012 - 04:01 PM.

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