Language Development in Neurodivergent & Other Gestalt Language Processors

A collaborative workshop offered virtually by the Autism Societies of Greater Wisconsin and Minnesota
Virtual Workshop | December 7, 2023 | 9AM – 12PM

About the Workshop

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 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.

Workshop Outcomes:

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

This workshop is ideal for SLPs, OTs, PTs, teachers, support staff, parents/family members, and autistic adults.

Meet the Presenter

Marge Blanc Headshot

Marge Blanc, M. A., CC C -SLP, 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.


Registration Fee

The registration fee includes access to the live workshop and access to the recording for one month. The registration fee includes access for one participant, access may not be shared.

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

Waiver Funding

Families enrolled in Children’s Long-Term Support (CLTS) Waiver, Children’s Community Options Program (CCOP), IRIS or Family Care may be able to use these funds to pay for conference registration fees. Please have your service coordinator fill out the Third Parter Payer Form to register with waiver funding.

Access Email

Upon registering for the training you will receive a confirmation email containing further information. If you have registered but have not yet received your confirmation email, please contact Amber at

Cancellation Policy

We are unable to accept cancellation or refund requests for this training.


Please reach out to Amber LeFevre at or 920-558-4600