How to support gestalt language processors

by Anna Dubiak, M.S., CCC-SLP
Duncan Lake Speech Therapy

If you read one of our previous blog posts about gestalt language processing and want to know more, read on! If you did not please click the link above and read about it!

As we learned gestalt language processing is a totally natural and valid way to process and learn language! But now that we know what it is, how do we support it?

For one, we need to learn our child’s scripts. Why? So that we can reinforce them and validate this communication. If we learn a child’s gestalts we will be better able to communicate with them. Gestalt language processors have also been coined “intonation babies” because they are drawn to the dynamics of a voice or song. If we add more varied intonation we can create more meaningful and lasting conversational exchanges. Music in general can be a great way to connect with GLP kiddos and we can use this as a tool to demonstrate more communication opportunities for these children.

There are also some things we need to keep in mind that we generally want to avoid when it comes to gestalt language processors. If a child is in the early stages we want to avoid asking questions. GLP kids are generally not ready for questions until stage 4. Generally we feel like we need to ask questions so check on a child’s comprehension, but with gestalt language processors, we can look at comprehension by what they are saying. If they see a dinosaur and start singing “10 little dinosaurs,” we know they comprehend what that object is. We do not need to ask, “What is that?”

Bottom line? Whatever you want to call it -“gestalts,” “echolalia,” or  “scripts” – these are very valid forms of communication that carry a significant amount of meaning and we want to support and foster these skills. We never want to try to eliminate echolalia. Instead, we can smile, nod, or even repeat back a script to a child to affirm they have just communicated to us and we respect this form of communication.



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