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White Sand and Stone

What is "Gestalt Language Processing?"

Gestalt-language processing (GLP) is a "top-down" method of language acquisition. It starts by programming whole phrases into memory and utilizing them to communicate meaning, then progresses to manipulating single words into other meaningful utterances. Gestalt language processors learn from whole to part. 


GLP starts with imitation. Often, this is seen by a child repeating a phrase from a song or movie they like with the same intonation after interacting with the media. This is called delayed echolalia. Next, the child manipulates single parts of the phrase to learn the meaning of individual words. In the final stage, the child utilizes the recently learned words to construct flexible, original, autonomous phrases and sentences.


GLP is a part of Natural Language Acquisition (NLA) prevalent in most autistic and neurodivergent children. NLA is a "top-down" learning method that is essentially the opposite of Analytic Language Development (ALD), the way most neurotypical children process and learn speech and language (think CDC or ASHA milestones). Analytic language processors learn from part to whole (i.e., learn single sounds, combine sounds with words, and combine words to form phrases and sentences).


GLP and NLA are both natural ways of acquiring language.

Because all humans have different brains, it is normal that our brain processes would also be unique.


For more detailed information, please visit Alexandria Zachos's, CCC-SLP Meaningful Speech.

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