NLA Stage 5

This introduction to Stage 5 was written with two different groups of people in mind: the first group is made up of those of you whose child/client is moving from Stage 4 to Stage 5. Congratulations! It’s an exciting time to be looking at the more advanced grammar at Stage 5 and looking ahead to Stage 6 to see where your child will go.

If you are a parent, you might want to partner with an SLP/SLT/SP at this point, because advanced grammar can get a little tricky to put into natural conversation, and ensure it sounds authentic and meaningful. We don’t ever want to slip into ‘teaching’ any language as a ‘skill,’ especially with our GLPs, because they still acquire language best through modeling, meaning, emotional content, and context. So as we’ve said before, we’re never going to be satisfied with a sentence strip or some kind of sentence diagram. Our GLPs acquire grammar because it’s about meaning, and it matters!

The second group of people we are addressing with this introduction is those of you who are simply looking ahead so you can see how the gestalt language process comes together in its entirety. This is a very wise move on your part, as we don’t want to fall into any little traps at an earlier stage, by modeling language that is so advanced it becomes a ‘stuck gestalt.’ The most common example is when we think a child is old and mature enough to use, “Can I have…?” instead of “I want…” Neither should be taught, of course, but the question form, “Can I have…?” becomes just as ‘stuck’ as ‘I want’ because it’s a Stage 5 construction. And even when a child is at Stage 5, development of the question form must be preceded by “I can have…,” or we risk or we risk it being a ‘stuck’ form.

Developmental Sentence Scoring (DSS) remains your companion at Stages 5-6, and the highlights include more advanced pronouns, verb forms, negatives, Wh question words, and, especially the conjunctions ‘but,’ ‘so,’ ‘or,’ ‘if,’ and ‘because.’ By the end of Stage 5, GLPs can say sentences such as: “When we couldn’t find the money for ice cream, we called our mom who brought enough for all of us.” Pretty amazing, isn’t it?