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Episode #175: All About That Gestalt

This Episode features a pre-recorded ASHA Mini Training on Gestalt Language Processing. Gestalt is a hot topic in the speech therapy and ABA worlds, and today I focus on what research is available, what we do not yet know, AND how we can collaborate with teams when we have opposing views, whatever those may be.

Gestalt is a multi word chunk that a speaker hears, uses, and stores as a whole before having knowledge or awareness of its internal structure, sometimes referred to as Delayed Echolalia or Scripting. In this training, you will find resources and guides to the information available on gestalt. The truth is, it’s complicated! But I also provide a guide to being a critical consumer of information.

So what do Gestalt and traditional therapy have in common? In their simplest form, good therapy practices.

  • Building a genuine connection with the child and following their lead interests
  • Noticing and honoring communication attempts and their underlying functions
  • Building on the current language system with individualized, meaningful targets
  • Tapping into caregivers’ expertise and working collaboratively
  • Inclusion of self-regulation and sensory strategies as needed for the individual

Where it differs is how we approach assessment and some of the questions left without research or proven studies. At this point in time, there are no criteria for assessments in gestalt, no controlled studies for what therapy practices work best, a limited understanding of what Gestalt connects to in the brain, and no research on Gestalt with AAC. So how do we move forward? Critically consider the implications of shifts in your practice, question our (and others’) assumptions, avoid repeating unproven claims as facts, and keep our individual clients in mind. 

Throughout this training, I shared a variety of resources that you can find online via ASHA including articles from Marge LeBlanc, a team conflict article from Gregory Abell, and the upcoming article A systematic review of gestalt language processing interventions in children or adults with communication disability. If you’d like to hear another episode of Gestalt, you can check out #155 with Sari Risen.

#autism #speechtherapy

What’s Inside:

  • What is Gestalt Language Processing?
  • What is robust research, and how do you become a critical consumer?
  • How to collaborate with teams with opposing views.

Mentioned In This Episode

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