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What is GLP?

Gestalt Language Processing  -

There are two ways learners acquire language. We most often think of "analytic language processing" in which a child learns single words, then short combinations, followed by phrases and sentences. Gestalt language processing is another way that a child may develop language often starting with whole phrases and scripted speech ("delayed echolalia"). Instead of beginning with single words, you may hear this type of learner repeating entire sentences, demonstrating rich intonation, using long scripts, and possibly putting together unintelligible strings of language. The term "natural language acquisition" describes the way in which gestalt language processors learn language. Both types of language processing are natural and normal! 

Signs your child/student may be a gestalt language processor:

  • The child hears the melody of language (as opposed to tuning in to single words)

  • Basic units of language are chunks (as opposed to single words)

  • The child is not making progress in traditional speech therapy 

  • The child uses scripted phrases (delayed echolalia) - some examples may be: "To infinity and beyond" or "If you have to go potty stop and go right away"

(Peters, A. 1983)

(Prizant & Rydell, 1984)





Gestalt language processors may also benefit from augmentative and alternative communication!


For more information: Communication Development Center -  

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