Welcome. We’re glad you found us! No, we don’t look like our former clinic that provided speech, language, and communication supports for 22 years. But we have learned a lot over the years — and post-pandemic, we are dedicated to sharing thoughts that will continue to support natural speech, language, and communication development!
Yes, there is a backstory here... one that needs to be told. Our ancient website had a crack in it, one we couldn’t fix. The website was so old that we couldn’t change, or even delete, anything! Marge Blanc’s published articles and book used language that was commonly used in 2004, and even in 2013, when the most recent writing was published. But that language now risks communicating ableism and disrespect. And it can hurt the feelings of some of the very people the writing was meant to embrace. Current terminology referring to autistics was not used then, so you read language like 'children with autism,' and 'children on the autism spectrum.’ Please know that I wrote those words without the understanding I have today. And please know that regardless of my ancient terminology, I honor (and honored) you and the people I wrote about back in the day! I can't fix those published articles and book, but I can address the issue.
Autistic people let us know that the crack in our bell interfered with our message. Autistic people let us know that we could not expect our message of honor and respect to get through that flaw. But their light/your light shined through that very same crack — and our website is being up-dated as you read this. If I can’t change the articles, I can at least explain what happened, and provide a disclaimer with each of the writings.
Please accept my apology. It is deeply felt and sincere. And stay tuned. Your light will be reflected back to you!
Link to the CDC Facebook page »
Link to NLA courses and NLA book
Natural Language Acquisition on the Autism Spectrum: The Journey from Echolalia to Self-Generated Language by Marge Blanc, M.A., CCC-SLP
We are so excited to unveil our new handouts, in English, Spanish, and Canadian French! They are NLA-consistent, and accurately translated! Thanks to our multilingual team of Paulina Elias and Douce Pichette who joined me in this endeavor. More languages to come!
Marge Blanc’s articles were published in the Autism Asperger’s Digest between 2004 and 2013 — and are included here for your use and sharing — with one caveat: When you read them or share them, please know that some of the language that was commonly used then is no longer used by autistic people or the neurotypical people who honor them! While we cannot change the published articles from their original form, we can apologize for this antiquated language, and ask that you share this explanation along with the articles. Thank you!
The articles are being released gradually, with a short comment about each.
This article presents a hierarchy of support for speech development, particularly when speech is ’stuck’ at the foundational levels of deep breathing, voicing, and intonation — the levels that support the more refined motor movement we recognize as speaking (vowels, consonants, sequences of sounds, and volitional speaking). The article is about whole-body ‘praxis’ or motor-planning, and offers supports for the refined coordination needed for speech production.
Click to read When Speech Gets Stuck »
This multi-part article is the precursor of the book, Natural Language Acquisition on the Autism Spectrum: The Journey from Echolalia to Self-Generated Language (2012). It is a good ‘beginner’ article describing NLA as the description of gestalt language development, and follows the journey of Marge’s first autistic client through the four main stages of language development.
Click to read Finding the Words … to Tell the “Whole” Story »
Six articles in one, this series was written for parents, particularly parents of a newly-diagnosed autistic child. It follows the development of communication from pre-verbal reciprocity to first language chunks, and supports parents as they look at their child’s communicative intentions and interests — and ways to match them with language.
"In the beginning was the intent, the reaching out to someone who was already there, that grew into the reciprocity of all our relationships!”
“...to reflect the joy of life, our language system needs to find some pleasurable contexts and expressions within which it can grow.
“...our kids were talking far earlier than their first identifiable, understandable word."
Click to read More Than Words »
Here is the book by Ann Peters that started it all! The Units of Language Acquisition, 1983 and 2021.
From the Abstract: “...whether a Gestalt or an Analytic approach was used, children must in general start out with whatever units they can acquire, whether large or small…this phenomenon is a manifestation of one of the central processes in all early language acquisition. This process is the extraction of pieces, or ‘units,’ from the speech stream in which the child is immersed…at the earliest stages there is a cognitive limitation constraining the child to processing (e.g., extracting and producing) what to the child is one unit at a time. This stage would have been more accurately labeled the ‘one-unit stage.’ Recognizing that children may be extracting phrases as well as words as their first units can explain the wide range of variation in the size of these units, measured in conventional words or morphemes (or even syllables). Thus one child's early vocabulary may consist primarily of one-word labels, whereas another's may contain a higher proportion of multi-morphemic expressions.”
— Ann Peters, Professor Emerita at University of Hawai'i at Manoa, 2021
Hear Ann Peters and Marge in the October 27, 2021 webinar with NJ Autism Center of Excellence, ‘Echoes of Echolalia.'
Please feel free to share this handout Kate Shapiro Flaxman and I prepared for the December 2, 2021 webinar with NJAutism of Excellence, 'AAC: Connecting with Language Learners.’ The handout suggests useful gestalts and mitigations that can be added to robust AAC systems for gestalt processors who use AAC.