something expressed as echolalia does not automatically make it less genuine or real.
a lot of autistic people struggle with words for things, and even those of us who can use our mouths to say words (whether some or all of the time) often have a really hard time knowing what to say in many situations, or knowing what another person wants us to say.
other times we may know what to say or what we want to say, but are having a hard time making the words come out of our mouths, fingers, hands, or eyes. echoing what someone has said to us is sometimes the easiest way to facilitate this happening.
sometimes echoing is like being in rehearsal for a play, forgetting your line, and yelling “line!” to the stage manager who then tells you what you’re supposed to say next so you can repeat it in the scene.
sometimes we echo because it’s fun or it feels good. this doesn’t make the words any less real, it just means that we’re maybe not saying words in the same way other people might say those same words.
most non-autistics aren’t good at “listening” (whether with ears, eyes, or hands) to what we have to say when it comes to the ways we might express certain things. sure, you may be fine with it when i repeat song lyrics over and over, or repeat a word you just said because it feels funny on my tongue, but when it comes to things that are seen as “important” suddenly that willingness, that “acceptance” falls apart because for some reason a string of numbers is “cute” or “cool” until you want us to say “i love you” and then that same string of numbers becomes “i just wish i could sometimes hear what i need to hear.”
i don’t know what you need to hear. or maybe i do but i don’t know how you want me to say it. if you want me to say it - and if you want me to say it your way - you might have to tell me first. how does that make it any less real than if you hadn’t?
please explain, because i’m tired and it’s getting real hard to keep standing in this echo chamber that seems to defy the laws of physics.