Language Development in Neurodivergent and Other Gestalt Language Processors: Part 2

A young boy holds up two cards. One shows an apple and the other has the letter A.Presented by Marge Blanc
Mar. 1, 9 a.m.-12 p.m.
Held virtually
Registration includes access to recording until April 1

Member: $50
Non-Member: $60
Autistic Individual: $35

Ideal for: SLPs, OTs, PTs, teachers, support staff, parents/family members, autistic adults


Missed part one? Click here to purchase!

About the WorkshopA mother and a daughter sit across from each other in a living room. They are both holding up their hands and enunciating something very clearly

Gestalt language processing (GLP) is one of the two types of understanding and using language. The other is analytic language processing (ALP), another name for what we have thought of as “typical language processing.” Each leads to natural language development, with these differences:

  • Analytic language development begins with single words. Single words are then combined to create short phrases, and then simple sentences, and eventually more complex sentences until a complete grammar system develops.
  • Gestalt language development begins with ‘chunks’ of language, also known as “scripts” or “delayed echolalia.” That is Stage 1. Each language chunk is a ‘gestalt’ and experienced as the sound track of a life experience. At Stage 2, chunks are made shorter, and some shorter chunks are combined with other shorter chunks to create new utterances. At Stage 3, chunks are made shorter still, and single words emerge. At Stage 4, single words are combined into short phrases and then simple sentences (just like they are for analytic language processors at a much earlier age). At Stages 5 and 6, sentences become more complex until a complete grammar system develops.

This three-hour training is a deeper dive into the use of Natural Language Acquisition supports for students who are gestalt language processors (GLPs). Continuing from the three-hour training presented on Dec. 7, 2023, this workshop will go further into more specialized topics, including identifying and supporting older GLPs, gathering and scoring language samples, more specific supports to late-stage GLPs, and using the related supports of self-regulation, AAC assessment, and music.

Purchase the Recording of Part 1

If you missed the workshop presented by Marge Blanc, you can still access the content! A recording of part 1 is available to purchase through the registration form.

Member: $30
Non-Member: $40
Autistic Individual: $25

About the Workshop

This presentation will prepare you to recognize gestalt language processors and feel confident that you understand the research underlying gestalt language development. You will learn how gestalt language development differs from analytic language development, how it naturally progresses through six stages, and how to support it in your clients and students. A case example will illustrate the value of language sampling and the principles of supporting gestalt language development.


Participants will be able to:

  • Outline the six stages of gestalt language development as compared with the stages of analytic language development
  • Describe the research that supports the use of Natural Language Acquisition (NLA) to elaborate and quantifying the stages of gestalt language development
  • Score a set of utterances produced by a child at Stages 1-4 of gestalt language development

About the PresenterHeadshot of Marge Blanc, a smiling woman with gray hair

Marge Blanc has been a Speech-Language Pathologist for 45 years, and reports that she has loved every minute of it! Marge met her first autistic client in 1994 when she was a Clinical Associate Professor at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. She applied the principles of gestalt language development she had learned from the research of Barry Prizant, Ann Peters, and colleagues — and they worked immediately!

Marge then conducted clinical research as part of her service-delivery at the Communication Development Center, the physically-supportive clinic she co-founded in Madison. Her research described gestalt language development in a wide variety of children, primarily autistic children, further detailing the findings of Prizant, Peters, and colleagues. Her elaboration and quantification of gestalt language development were published as Natural Language Acquisition on the Autism Spectrum: the Journey from Echolalia to Self-Generated Language in 2012, and first presented to the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association in 2014.

Since that time, Marge has been actively sharing the lessons learned about gestalt language processing through her book, webinars, courses with Northern Speech Services, Facebook Study Groups, and the website, Marge’s honorarium will be paid to the Communication Development Center to further its work.

This presentation is largely based on the book Natural Language Acquisition on the Autism Spectrum: the Journey from Echolalia to Self-Generated Language (Blanc, 2012). The book is owned by the Communication Development Center (CDC), the non-profit corporation Marge directs. CDC receives all royalties from Northern Speech Services for the sale of the book and the three NLA courses Marge authored, and from the Natural Communication and Uncleft courses, and all webinars and other trainings. Marge does not receive royalties, or other compensation, but the CDC is able to pursue its educational endeavors through these reimbursements.

Skip to toolbar