Gestalt Language Development and Speech Development

Now you have an overview of gestalt language development, and know some of the important concepts that help support it. One of the topics that deserves very special attention is the lack of speech intelligibility that is common among young Stage 1 GLPs. With special thanks to Amanda Blackwell and Paulina Elias of Natural Communication, this section of their professional and parent course has been given to us! We are so appreciative!


“Most little kids at Stage 1 are mostly unintelligible.” — (M. Blanc, 2023

As we explore how to support language development in relationship to speech development, we have to know what we can expect. After only one hour, you will know! 

One of our colleagues, Rim Annous, has gifted us with a beautiful graphic based on the article ‘When Speech Gets Stuck’ published in the Autism Aspergers Digest in 2004. This article was based on the combined efforts of SLPs, OTs, and PTs working with dyspraxic clients in the Communication Development Center between 1997 and 2004. When viewed through a ‘whole-body’ lens, these clients demonstrated how the principles of physical development from the ‘large-to-small’ support deep breathing, sustained exhalation, phonation/voice, and intonation — which then support vowels and consonant sounds — and speaking in context.
Taught only about ‘apraxia of speech,’ SLPs often begin speech treatment at the level of consonant sounds, without first assessing and addressing the underlying physical mechanisms that support consonant sounds in child development. Without the background and experience that OTs and PTs have, SLPs have often felt unsuccessful.
There are three videos about the graphic, and each presents part of the story from ‘When Speech Gets Stuck.’ Joined by the international members of the NLA Translation Team, Marge explains the premises underlying the ‘Eight Step Hierarchy of Supports for Dyspraxia.’
Join us in our exploration, and learn how unintelligible and minimally-speaking children can be supported in speech development *while* they are also supported with AAC!