The Autism AffirmationThe Autism Affirmation


This is what I call the Autism Affirmation:

My son will state something, like “You’ll pick me up at five o’clock and then we’ll go to get a burger.”

This will happen right after I’ve informed him of a plan…This sample plan is that I’m picking him up and a certain time and we’ll go get a burger for dinner.

If this is something my son is concerned about—like maybe he feels he might not get the burger for some reason—then THE PLAN will be repeated.

Again and again…until I affirm or approve the plan.

And, I have to formally approve it.

He gets very worked up if I don’t.

Why does this happen?

I believe this is more than just a form of echolalia–the immediate or delayed echoing or repetition of whole, unanalyzed expressions or reciprocation, a common issue with individuals with autism.


This is more about how my son needs to plan things in his head.

I suppose my son gets nervous about a sudden change of plans, and he’s trying his best to get me to calm his nerves and say, for sure, that something is going to definitely happen.

Or, he has to repeat something to make sure it happens.

Or, he has to just repeat things, because that’s what he does at times as well.

My son is pretty darn good at repeating a plan like that or a statement of some concern to him.

He’ll also repeat things that I told him a few days—or weeks—earlier. Here’s a made-up example:

“Mom, you said we’re going on vacation in July, right? That’s what you said, right?”

“Yes, that’s what I said. Two weeks ago! It’s January now, buddy.”

“But, we’re going, right?”

“That’s what I said. I think we’re going in July.”

I get into trouble when I try to insert an I THINK or MAYBE, especially when it concerns something he really likes to do (like go on vacations).

If that happens (if I make that mistake), then I have to affirm once again what I had originally said to him…”We are planning on going on vacation in July.”

What is this about?

I call it the Autism Affirmation.

There may be several reasons why he does it (I stated a few of them above).

But, it has caused some frustration…on my part.

“Hey, buddy, didn’t I just say that I’ll call your friend’s mom when we get home and arrange a get together for tomorrow?”


“So, mom, you’ll call when we get home.”

“I just said I would.”

“So, you’ll call.”

“What did I just say?”

“You’ll call, right?”

“Didn’t I just say I would?”

“Mom, just say it.”

And, that’s what it is…I have to affirm the thing/statement/whatever. I have to say it AGAIN, in order for him to hear it AGAIN. In order for him to…believe me. Remind himself. Calm himself…Whatever he needs to do inside his head and body.

The autism affirmation. I see it coming sometimes, I try different approaches in order to deal with it and to teach my son that he can’t/shouldn’t keep repeating things until he’s satisfied.

Other people out in the world are not as forgiving as we are.

It may not be a big thing, and it might certainly be something he grows out of.

But, I always try to find teaching moments. And, try to lesson frustration, for him, and for me. The Autism Affirmation

Here is a related article on echolalia in children with autism:


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