Print Friendly and PDF

Using Natural Language Acquisition to Support Language Development in Gestalt Language Processors

**ATTENTION MEMBERS! Please make sure you LOG IN with your Username and Password BEFORE you register to receive the DISCOUNTED member fee***

Presenter: Marge Blanc, M.A., CCC-SLP

Date: March 23, 2024

: 8:45am

Workshop: 9:00am - 4:00pm

Member: $130.00

Student Member: $25.00

Non-Member Professional: $180.00

**Meets CTLE Requirements if documented with the ASHA CE Registry**


Financial: Marge Blanc, M.A., CCC-SLP will be receiving an honorarium from LISHA for her presentation.
Non-Financial: Marge Blanc, M.A., CCC-SLP is the Director of The Communication Development Center, Inc. She is also serving as a Board Member.


Zoom LIVE Webinar

Workshop Coordinator

Emily M. Santamarina, M.A., CCC-SLP
Immediate Past President


Gestalt language processing is a natural way of developing language that has been known in our field since the 1980s. It was largely ignored, however, because children who use gestalt processes were regularly misidentified as disordered analytic language processors (ALPs) and taught to
compensate for their lack of expected communication skills. When students with the same profiles are treated as gestalt language processors (GLPs), however, and supported through their own developmental progression, they develop language naturally, and are able to achieve the same self-
generated language as ALPs. This full-day training is presented by Marge Blanc, the SLP who conducted the 15+ years of longitudinal clinical research which culminated in the Natural Language Acquisition (NLA) protocol. Her work has inspired the current international movement to honor
gestalt language development in the way first envisioned by Ann Peters, Barry Prizant, and other pioneer researchers. This training will prepare you to support the gestalt language processors on your caseload, as you will be able to use the Natural Language Acquisition protocol to assess and
support them and feel confident that you can approach all students with your knowledge of both styles of language development. Case examples will illustrate the progress of students who were initially misidentified as ALPs, and who progressed in their natural language development once they
were correctly identified as gestalt language processors.


Marge Blanc has been a Speech-Language Pathologist for 50 years. She was a public school SLP in the US and Canada for 20 years before moving to Madison, WI in 1993. Marge served as a Clinical Associate Professor at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, where she met her first autistic clients. 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 (CDC), 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 Barry Prizant 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 actively shared education and consultation about NLA, via the CDC website,, webinars,
trainings, courses, and graduate school presentations. She has authored or collaborated on NLA courses with Northern Speech Services, Meaningful Speech, Natural Communication, and Uncleft Edtech in India. She co-authored the open access article “Using the Natural Language Acquisition Protocol to Support Gestalt
Language Development” (Blanc, Blackwell, & Elias, 2023), published in ASHA Perspectives.

**LISHA speaker selection does not imply endorsement of course content, specific products, or procedures. We reserve the right to substitute speakers due to circumstances beyond our control**

Learning Objectives

Participants will:
1. Outline the six stages of gestalt language development as described by NLA, compared with the stages of analytic language development.
2. Describe the research that discovered, explored, and quantified gestalt language development.
3. Outline general supports for gestalt language processors at all language development stages.
4. Describe supports for gestalt language processors at each NLA Stage of language development.
5. Write goal statements for gestalt language processors at each Stage of language development.
6. Score a subset of utterances produced by a child at Stages 1-5 of gestalt language development.
7. Describe characteristics of older gestalt language processors, and unique supports for them.
8. Describe considerations for supporting non-speaking and minimally speaking students who are, or are suspected to be, GLPs.
9. Outline considerations for using NLA in the classroom.


9:00-9:15 Introduction: What is Gestalt Language Development?
9:15-9:30     Research Base of Gestalt Language Development and its Relevance
9:30-10:00 Natural Language Acquisition Stages of Gestalt Language Development
10:00-10:30 Case Example of a Young GLP Developing from Stage 1 to Stage 5
10:30-10:45 BREAK
10:45-11:00 Assessment of Language Development for GLPs; Principles of Language Sampling; Scoring a Small Sample from the Case Example
11:00-11:15 Recognizing and Supporting Gestalt Language Development at all Stages: General Considerations
11:15-11:30 Supporting Gestalt Language Development at Stages 1-3: Specific Considerations
11:30-12:00 LUNCH
12:00-12:25 Supporting Gestalt Language Development at Stages 4-6
12:25-12:45 Pre-Sentence and Sentence Grammar: Development in Stages 4-6
12:45-1:10 Application of NLA Principles with Older Students
1:10-2:00 Case Example, Supports, and Goal-Writing for an Older Student
2:00-2:15 BREAK
2:15-2:45 Application of NLA Principles with Multi-Modal Communicators
2:45-3:15 Related Considerations for Supporting Gestalt Language Development: Speech Development, Regulation Supports, Music Supports
3:15-3:45 Considerations Regarding Applying Principles in Classrooms
3:45-4:00 Questions and Answers


Confirmations of registration can be obtained at or Email at


Cancellations are refundable if received seventy-two (72) business hours prior to the event. Please note: Registrants will receive a certificateof completion when the course has been successfully completed.

Handouts and Zoom Link

PowerPoint/Handout Presentations and Zoom Link will be emailed to confirmed attendees 72 hours prior to the workshop. If you do not receive the Zoom link, please contact us at or call 516-626-8000. Someone will be able to help you up until the start of the workshop.


March 23rd, 2024 from  9:00 AM to  4:00 PM
Zoom LIVE Webinar
United States
Event Fee(s)
Professional Fee $180.00
Share This