The word ‘gestalt’ is German in origin and refers to processing information in chunks. In language, this may be a whole phrase such as ‘all aboard’ and ‘let’s go on an adventure!’. This is a form of echolalia. Echolalia refers to the repetition of utterances said by others. It can be immediate (i.e., repeating a question straight back to you) or delayed (i.e., scripting lines from favourite movies and TV shows). Echolalia is common among those with Autism Spectrum Disorder.
Gestalt Language Acquisition (GLA) refers to a form of language development where one progresses from using multi-word, echolalic communication to the use of novel or independently constructed utterances. This differs from Analytic Language Acquisition where one learns to combine single words into phrases and sentences (i.e., roll + ball).
Children who learn language through a Gestalt approach acquire language in stages. These stages are as follows:
Written by speech pathologist Rachel Finney
Blog posts are written by all members of the RSP team.