Timothy Archibald’s son was diagnosed with autism in 2006.

Closed System

“The doors will be closing. Please stand clear of the doors.”

“The doors will be closing. Please stand clear of the doors.”

Repeated obsessively whenever we encounter a moving door. At the library, on a bus, at the supermarket. It comes from deep within and interrupts common conversation. It’s stated as an impulse, not as a collection of thoughts expressed, repeated in exact tone and rhythm without meaning. This is echolilia.

“Echolilia” is an alternate spelling of a more common term, “echolalia,” used in the autistic community to refer to the habit of verbal repetition and copying that is commonly found in autistic kids’ behavior. It is also the name of a book of photographs he took collaborating with his son.

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