Natural Language Acquisition Forum

Background: On November 14, 2013, twelve hundred SLPs joined Marge Blanc and Kristen Lee in discovering the importance of echolalia in the language development of kids — including kids on the autism spectrum. Many of you asked how we could work together to learn to use the Natural Language Acquisition (NLA) assessment materials — and devise treatment programs for our kids.

Today this forum begins! Every week, we will share stories, strategies, and materials — from us — and from you. We will share language samples, and when possible, recordings of assessment and treatment sessions.

The first materials we are sharing are:

1. The NLA Scoring Form

2. The NLA Scoring Guide

Some of you have emailed us already, but for those of you wondering how to contact us, here's our address:

Based on your emails, we will address topics as the weeks go by. So far the topics appear to be these:
- How to begin this process
- The importance of scoring
- Differentiating a communicative echolalic utterance from a non-communicative one
- Addressing a mitigation vs. beginning grammar
- How to look at echolalia in a child's first language if it's not English
- How to work with teams at school when you know a child is communicating with his echolalia
- Whether there will be more in-depth workshops in the future

We're delighted that we have a community that is committed to helping our kids achieve true language development by acknowledging and working with their echolalia!

This summer: By mid-June our Facebook page will include a discussion tab so all of us can share our stories, questions, successes, and help each other find solutions. So far, some of you have told us that you are exploring how NLA fits into your personal work environments. One outcome from the forum might be better defined "How to..." guidelines for SLPs, teachers, and parents. We look forward to hearing from you!