AuSM Hosting Dec. 7 Workshop on Gestalt Language Processing

AuSM’s next virtual workshop, Language Development in Neurodivergent and Other Gestalt Language Processors, will explain how gestalt language development differs from analytic language development, and how to support it in your clients and students.

Presented by Marge Blanc, a speech-language pathologist for 45 years, this workshop is ideal for SLPs, OTs, PTs, teachers, support staff, parents/family members, and autistic adults. You’ll learn to recognize gestalt language processors and feel confident that you understand the research underlying gestalt language development. Join us to find out what gestalt language processing is, how you can support language development in gestalt processors, and how it’s different from “typical” language development.


When: December 7, 2023, 9 a.m.-noon CTD
This is a virtual presentation; registrants will have access to the recording through Jan. 11, 2024

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

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 lead to natural language development. Analytic language development begins with single words, combined to create short phrases, and then simple sentences, and eventually more complex sentences until a complete grammar system develops.

Stage 1 in gestalt language development begins with ‘chunks’ of language, also known as “scripts” or “delayed echolalia.” Each language chunk is a ‘gestalt’ and experienced as the soundtrack 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. At Stages 5 and 6, sentences become more complex until a complete grammar system develops.

This workshop will prepare you 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 our presenter
Workshop presenter Marge Blanc met her first autistic client in 1994 when she was a Clinical Associate Professor at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. She successfully applied the principles of gestalt language development she had learned from the research of Barry Prizant and Ann Peters. 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.

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