NLA Stage 2

Stage 2 is flexible — and Stage 2 utterances are easier-to-understand — so Stage 2 gives GLPs the opportunity to be understood by a wider group of communication partners. Once long gestalts have been shortened/mitigated, they are easier to say, and, thus, more readily understood. In fact, when GLPs have gotten to Stage 2, they are often seen as talking for the first time! At Stage 2, GLPs are able to apply their mix-and-match mitigations in more situations than the gestalts they were derived from. That means they can communicate more ‘intentions.’ Sharing is still #1, but Stage 2 communicators can use their language to make observations, comment on their thoughts and feelings, suggest activities, protest about what they don’t want, request what they do want, exclaim their appreciation (and the opposite!), and ask questions. ‘What’s + next?’ and ‘What’s + over there?’ we model for them; ‘How about + that one?’ and ‘How about + something else?’ we offer; “I’m ready + to go!’ and ‘I’m ready + to eat!’ we exclaim; ‘Don’t + take that!’ and ‘Don’t + delete it!’ we model as well. And, at Stage 2, kids are sometimes more able to use AAC, because they are closer to using single the single words that most AAC is built on.

Some Stage 2 mitigations are flexible ‘frames’ as described by Ann Peters, with a variety of single words placed in empty slots. Other mitigations are combinations of two more-equal-sized parts of previous gestalts. Finally, some mitigations are simply whittled down or shortened versions of long gestalts. The latter phenomenon is particularly common in older GLPs, who often have entire videos in their brains — and Stage 2 mitigations allows them to access and communicate with much shorter, and more manageable, portions of those former gestalts. Please check out the NLA Handout and all the Stage 2 Supports!

All-in-all, everyone loves Stage 2 language and Stage 2 communication — which often makes it seem like a place to stay … forever. But, don’t be fooled! There’s more, and it will be incredibly rewarding!


A casual conversation among 3 NLA SLPs brings some of the strategies to life. Here Ereeni describes a student’s Stage 2 utterances about an important event, and Nellie reminds us to “not rush stage 2.” Marge follows up with a reminder that the multiword Stage 1 is as ‘basic’ to a gestalt language processor as the single word is to an analytic language processor.