This Level 1 Course describes the linguistics of echolalia in language development, starting with the use of large units of meaning known as language gestalts. It compares the gestalt language processing of neurotypical children with that of children with ASD. It reviews research on the communicative use of echolalia, and addresses the differences between ASD echolalia in the past and in the present.
This course discusses the natural stages of language development from Stage 1 (communicative echolalia) to Stages 4-6 (self-generated grammar) in individuals who are gestalt language processors, and focuses on supporting children with ASD as they move through the stages. Described will be a protocol for assessing spontaneous language in autism, determining the stages of language development, and deriving appropriate language development goals. Offered for 0.3 ASHA CEUs – 3 contact hours.
Course Run Time: 3:06:44
The presenter of this course is also the author of the text, "Natural Language Acquisition on the Autism Spectrum: The Journey from Echolalia to Self-Generated Language" that is mentioned as part of this course. The presenter does not benefit financially from the sale of this book, however, the non-profit center, Communication Development Center (CDC), for which the presenter is founder and director, does receive royalties.
Video PowerPoint presentation with author narration & downloadable handout.
Marge Blanc, MA, CCC-SLP, is a clinical Speech-Language Pathologist, and founder and director of the Communication Development Center (CDC) in Madison, WI. Serving children with autism and others who benefit from sensorimotor supports, CDC has provided specialized speech, language, and social communication services for over 15 years. Marge is the author of the book, Natural Language Acquisition on the Autism Spectrum and she is the author of the online CEU course, Natural Language Acquisition in Autism: Echolalia To Self-Generated Language, Level 1 and Level 2.
For more information, visit www.communicationdevelopmentcenter.com which includes links to Marge's articles and columns, which originally appeared in the Autism Asperger's Digest. Her article topics include language development in autism, language development for visual thinkers, language retrieval in autism, AAC in autism, language and self-regulation in autism, and speech development with dyspraxia in autism.
Financial — Marge Blanc is a presenter of CE seminars sponsored by Northern Speech Services; speaking fees are received by the Communication Development Center.
Financial — Marge Blanc is a presenter of online CE courses sponsored by Northern Speech Services; royalties are received by the Communication Development Center.
Financial — Marge Blanc is the author of the book, "Natural Language Acquisition on the Autism Spectrum: The Journey from Echolalia to Self-Generated Language"; she does not receive royalties, however, the non-profit Communication Development Center does.
Nonfinancial — Marge Blanc is the founder and director of the Communication Development Center (CDC) in Madison, WI; she does not receive any compensation in this role.
This program is offered for 0.3 ASHA CEUs (Intermediate Level; Professional Area).
ASHA CEUs: NSS online courses are registered with ASHA and are offered for ASHA CEUs. The number of ASHA CEUs is noted above. Note that 0.1 ASHA CEU = 1 contact hour = equals 1 CEE.
ASHA CE Registry: During the enrollment process, if you select to receive ASHA credit for this course and if you provide your ASHA number, NSS will automatically submit your CEU information to the ASHA CE Registry after successful course completion (80% on post test). This submission happens once per month, during the first week of the month. For example, if you complete your course on November 7th, NSS will submit all November online course CEUs to ASHA during the first week of December. When ASHA inputs the information into their database, they will mark the course as completed on the last day of the month in which it was completed, so November 30th using this example. The certificate of completion available for you to print immediately, however, will reflect the actual completion date, November 7th in this example. Due to ASHA processing procedures please allow 2-3 weeks, from the submission date, for the course to appear on your ASHA transcript.
ASHA CEUs: Attendees must meet at least one of the following conditions in order to be eligible to earn ASHA CEUs:
If an attendee is not an ASHA member or CCC holder but meets any of the above criteria, they may inform the ASHA CE Registry of their eligibility by visiting this site.
Licensing Boards: Most state licensing boards DO accept CEUs earned online (usually classified as home-study credits). Some state boards do, however, place a limit to the number of credits that can be earned via home study/online courses. For the most current information, we suggest that you contact your licensing board or agency to verify acceptance policies and/or any credit limits related to home-study courses prior to registering for this course.
Additional accrediting agencies by which Northern Speech is an approved CE provider:
Course Completion Timeframe:
You have unlimited time to complete our online courses. You may log off and log on as often as you’d like to in order to complete all sections of a course.
However, completion dates are based on Eastern Standard Time. Therefore, if you need your CEUs by a certain date, be sure to complete the course test before 11:59pm EST on that date. For example, if you need CEUs before January 1st, you will need to complete the course test before 11:59pm EST on December 31st.
Access to course materials and content does not expire, even after completing the post test. You may continue to review course material by logging into your NSS account, clicking the My Online Courses tab, and then viewing your desired course.
Certificate of Completion:
On successful completion of the post test (80%), a certificate will be immediately available for download and/or printing. This certificate will include your name, date of completion (based on Eastern Time Zone, USA/Canada), and number of contact hours (CEUs / CEEs). Please note that CEUs are awarded on the date of successful test completion, not the date of course enrollment. Please ensure that you successfully complete the post test prior to any licensure renewal dates.
ASHA CE Registry Submission:
During the enrollment process, if you select to receive ASHA credit for this course and if you provide your ASHA number, NSS will automatically submit your CEU information to the ASHA CE Registry after successful course completion (80% on post test). This submission happens once per month, during the first week of the month. For example, if you complete your course on November 7th, NSS will submit all November online course CEUs to ASHA during the first week of December. When ASHA inputs the information into their database, they will mark the course as completed on the last day of the month in which it was completed, so November 30th using this example. The certificate of completion available for you to print immediately, however, will reflect the actual completion date, November 7th in this example. Due to ASHA processing procedures please allow 2-3 weeks, from the submission date, for the course to appear on your ASHA transcript.
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What is an Online Course?
Our Online Courses consist of video, audio, and/or text content and are offered for ASHA CEUs. Unlike a webinar, which requires participants to be logged on and at a computer at specific times, our Online Courses are available to you at any time, from any device, via your NorthernSpeech.com online account. You may work at your own pace and start and stop your course as you wish. Your course will conclude with a short post test. On successful completion of the post test (>80%), a printable certificate of completion is presented to you.
Northern Speech is an ASHA CE Provider and our online courses are registered with ASHA and offered for ASHA CEUs. Please note that successful completion of the online post test is required prior to the awarding of CEUs. Please contact your state licensing board for acceptance policies related to CEUs earned online. Please note that courses offered for university students are not applicable for CEUs.
Registering for an online course:
You may browse all online courses by clicking the Continuing Education tab above, then Online Courses. Once you find a course, click Enroll Now, and you will be asked to either log into your existing Northern Speech account or create a new online account. Once you’ve entered your account information and provided your credit card payment, your course will be immediately available to you.
Accessing your purchased course or returning to a purchased course:
You will be able to access your online course by logging into your Northern Speech account and then clicking the My Online Courses tab on your profile screen. Click the course you would like to start or to resume. From there, proceed through the course sections until you are ready to complete the post test. You do not have to complete your course all at once. You may log on and off as you wish.
Each online course concludes with a post test consisting of multiple choice or true & false questions. Scores of 80% or greater are required for successful course completion and awarding of CEUs. You may revisit course materials and retest as needed to achieve a passing score.
Number of CEUs offered:
We offer courses from 1 to 21 contact hours. Each course will note the number of CEUs offered. Please note that 0.1 CEU = 1 contact hour = 1 CEE.
State licensing boards and online CEUs:
NSS is an ASHA CE Provider and most state licensing boards DO accept ASHA CEUs earned online (usually classified as home-study credits). Some boards do, however, place a limit to the number of CEUs that can be earned via home study/online courses. For the most current information, we suggest that you contact your licensing board or agency to verify acceptance policies and/or any CEU limits related to home-study courses prior to enrolling in an online course.
Our course formats include: text, audio, video, and PowerPoint with author narration. Each course will note the format on the course description page. Most courses include closed captioning.
Most of our online courses provide a link to download the accompanying handout as a PDF file.
Groups of 3 or more are eligible for a 20% discount on each registration on most of our online courses. To receive this discount, registrations need to be processed together via the "Group Rates" tab on the Online Course of your choice.
For our online courses to function best, we recommend that you update your computer to include the newest version of your Internet browser (Safari, Chrome, Firefox, Edge, Internet Explorer, etc.) and newest version of your computer's operating system. Also a high-speed Internet connection is recommended (cable or DSL). Speakers or headphones will be required for many of our courses as many contain audio components.
Course Cancellation Policy:
A purchased online course can be exchanged, refunded, or transferred to another individual if contact is made with NSS (via phone or email) within 30 days of purchase and the course materials have not been viewed or downloaded.
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"I enjoyed the clear break down of each level of development. Thank you so much for outlining how to do the assessment and touching on how to begin treatment! I'm finding it hard to say what I like best as it will all be so helpful. This is new for me as an SLP so all of the information presented will be so valuable." L.C. (Nov. 2021)
"I find it encouraging that children can develop spontaneous language from echolalia. I liked that the course explained the different stages well so that it can also help with treatment goals" N.G. (Nov. 2021)
"I was not aware of gestalt language processing before this course. I liked the self-directed nature of it. The practical examples." E.K. (Nov. 2021)
"The course was very informative. Good pace to follow along." M.C. (Oct. 2021)
"This was wonderful - gave me a whole new look at echolalia with some of my students, and ways to use it and shape it for their benefit. I liked that it was broken down into sections and the slides were also provided." L.T. (Oct. 2021)
"The importance of collecting and analyzing a language sample, and scoring language utterances within the various stages, will be most beneficial. I think it will help me to focus intervention at the correct stage to meet my students where they are. I appreciated the examples given, and the many resources provided for further study." C.R. (Oct. 2021)
"Well-organized and about a topic that is not generally focused on in school/at conferences/in trainings" K.C. (Oct. 2021)
"I liked the practicality of the course." M.D. (Oct. 2021)
"I liked that the course causes you to think about echolalia in a completely different way." M.M. (Oct. 2021)
"Learning more about different types of language learners and how treatment depends on the type of language learner. Researched based information that is key for SLPs to understand and apply." M.M. (Oct. 2021)
"The need to think more about the way that different children learn language and expandoing my knowledge of how to work with children who don't follow expected trajectories. I liked the repetition of important concepts to emphasize them for me." S.T. (Oct. 2021)
"I found the research that is directly related to the communicative intents behind delayed echolalia is most beneficial. I liked the real-life examples Marge provided, as well as her recap and review at the end of each section." C.D. (Oct. 2021)
"Literally everything discussed in this course was beneficial- but especially the importance and necessity of echolalia! I liked how Marge explains these topics easily- I know now how to inform parents and teachers about this topic." L.F. (Oct. 2021)
"I work with many autistic children who are gestalt processors and I have never quite known how to approach their learning style. This is a great start to help shift my thinking. I liked the clear descriptions of analytic versus gestalt language processors." K.P. (Sept. 2021)
"I learned how to assess children who are gestalt language processors. It was helpful to see all the examples of the different stages of NLA based on real language samples." C.K. (Sept. 2021)
"I enjoyed the specific examples provided by the presenter." A.C. (Sept. 2021)
"That is covered the research and background with regards to applying this approach." K.W. (Sept. 2021)
"Great overview for a level 1 course" M.S. (Sept. 2021)
"The stages of NLA and using part of a "script" to teach a word in different ways was beneficial." A.D. (Sept. 2021)
"Recognizing the communicative power of echolalia and how to shape/mitigate for children will help my practice." C.C. (Aug. 2021)
"I liked the information on how to evaluate gestalt language processors. However, I think it will be difficult to implement in my current therapy situation (school district preschool). I appreciated that the course was broken into chunks so that I could take breaks and absorb the information." D.M. (Aug. 2021)
"How to help my NLA children move through the stages of language development by properly assessing and treating them. The examples were very helpful. How the material was presented and backed by research." R.V. (Aug. 2021)
"The concept of gestalt language learners in NT as well, just another form of typical language development will be beneficial for my daily practice." A.M. (Aug. 2021)
"Learning more about the NLA stages in greater depth with benefit my daily practice. The scoring examples to use with future language samples were great!" R.N. (Aug. 2021)
"I loved understanding how language is developed through predictable stages by neurotypical children and ASD children." K.C. (July 2021)
"The concepts of taking a student whose language is very scripted, but often meaningful to the context and helping them to mitigate the language into more meaningful grammatical utterances and helping them to develop more flexible language plans." W.H. (June 2021)
"The explanation of the typical language development, dividing the children as: analytical language processors; gestalt language processors. Presentation was very organized and speaker was clear and very specific when discussing each area. Looking forward to take part 2 of the course. Maybe treatment activities videos/ideas, for older kids with ASD and that are gestalt language procesors." D.S. (June 2021)
"I have understood the basics of the gestalt process for awhile, but I have been stuck on knowing how to plan therapy to move them along in the process. I have been providing lots of models of language with multiple examples of phrases that could be mitigated, but I sense that there is a way to be much more planned. I wondered if there was a list of common functional phrase chunks, like there are lists for core vocabulary to target in the area of AAC, that I could incorporate into activities with lots of modeling of mitigated target phrases. The piece I was missing was to get the language targets from the language the child is already using - from their gestalts. It seems so obvious now, but it was like a light bulb moment. Thanks." S.C. (June 2021)
"Explanation of assessment procedure-Treatment examples, with examples of language models for children at stage 1-Recognition that not all children will "make it" to fully developed language systems, and recognizing how even stages 2-4 can empower flexible self-expression for those individuals . This course was both informative and encouraging. Excellent course overall." A.K. (June2021)
"The knowledge of mitigating chunks of language from echolalia to help children communicate.The idea of how to move an individual who is a gestalt language processor to have self generated grammar." S.A. (June 2021)
"All of the information about gestalt language processors was incredibly helpful.How thorough it was and how it clearly demonstrated the language stages and how to help kids move through them.I'd love to see AAC incorporated, or children with no speech or babbling at all." C.M. (June 2021)
"Great to learn about how echolalia develops!" – A.E. (May 2021)
"I greatly appreciated the real-life examples used." – A.C. (May 2021)
"I like that it included examples to review. I also liked that outline/breakdown of each section." – M.H. (May 2021)
“The course was presented in a logical way with clear instructions of how to apply the approach to clinical practice.” – S.M. (Mar. 2021)
“I think that mitigation and how to do it was most beneficial. I have a child who repeats everything a teacher says, and after completing this course I have a list of different ways we can support him in learning to mitigate the concepts within those phrases. This course has completely changed my life and how I will look at, assess, and treat the children on my caseload moving forward. This information is so incredibly valuable. I wish we were explicitly taught this in grad school, as I feel like I've been doing a disservice to my kiddos in terms of treatment, until now. I understand the research, the why, the how, the what, etc. so that I can work to improve functional communication for my children with echolalia far beyond what PECS/I want. This course has empowered and excited me to not only treat children on my caseload but explain to parents and teachers (and other therapists) who view echolalia as a disruptive behavior to be dealt with.” – D.L. (Apr. 2021)
“I enjoyed all of it! I work with many kids who use echolalia, and this gave me a much better understanding of language development in kids with ASD. As well as how to assess and treat. It had a ton of information I was unaware of that will greatly improve my abilities to help my clients communicate.” – E.S. (Feb. 2021)
“This course had excellent information I was unaware of that will greatly improve my abilities to help my clients communicate.” – E.S. (Jan. 2021)
“I liked the research and history of the behavior of echolalia. As well as the classification of the system of gestalt language users and development, however, the practicality and logistics regarding the implementation of therapeutic practice were lacking. Maybe the focus of this course was to provide information and assessment, but I felt the impact and practicality was lacking.” – B.M. (Dec. 2020)
“I liked how thorough it was and how it demonstrated the language stages and how to help kids move through them.” – S.A. (Nov. 2020)
“The concepts of taking a student whose language is very scripted, but often meaningful to the context and helping them to mitigate the language into more meaningful grammatical utterances and helping them to develop more flexible language plans. It was a little dry, but the information, particularly the research that led to the NLA approach was very helpful.” – W.H. (Oct. 2020)
“I enjoyed the background info that supported the "why" of Ax and Tx.” S.P. (Sep. 2020)
“I appreciated the redundancy of information about the stages of NLA. It has already shaped my perspective in some of the kids I work with that have ASD, and significant Echolalia. I have explained these concepts to the parents, and together we have seen how the child's echolalia is being used in functional matters. It's helping us figure out where to go next, and how to truly monitor progress in language development.” – K.F. (Aug. 2020)
“Teaching an alternative mode to language acquisition, as well as the gestalt language development process was helpful. I also liked that it included research and current practices.” – E.M. (Jul. 2020)
"Good understanding of Echolalia and how to assess the different stages, also how to treat a child using echolalic speech.” – S.C. (Jun. 2020)
“I thought the idea of mitigating was really interesting. I always feel lost with how to change echolalic speech into more spontaneous productions, and the idea of breaking down what they are already saying is helpful.” – F.G. (May 2020)
“This entire course was beneficial to me. I felt that the information was well laid out and understandable. It is also extremely relevant to my clinical work and caseload. I feel that hearing this information while working with this particular population really brought it to life. I feel prepared to start using this information with my current caseload right away.” – E.S. (Apr. 2020)
“I have several children on my caseload that are gestalt language learners. This will change my approach when working with these children.” – B.M. (Mar. 2020)
"I enjoyed the review of echolalia and its role in neurotypical development and things to think about in treatment." – M.E. (Feb. 2020)
"It was interesting to think of a child with autism learning language from a gestalt perspective versus the analytic language development. It definitely provided a different insight into viewing how I hear my students communicating. I would have liked more examples of how to do provide models during therapy." – T.K. (Feb. 2020)
"I liked the explaining of the neurotypical vs. gestalt language processing & how Gestalt can be seen in neurotypical children." – S.P. (Jan. 2020)
"I appreciated going over the assessments and strategies used within the Natural Language Assessment including the stages and how to help children mitigate echoic utterances into new utterances. I liked the specific case studies- specifically Dylan since I work with preschool children." – J.H. (Dec. 2019)
"My current position is a speech therapist for children with autism. I plan to discuss the gestalt language acquisition and how to support it with the teachers I work with. I liked how it gave specific examples to illustrate language acquisition and also ways to support students in treatment." – K.B. (Nov. 2019)
"The content was so relevant to my clinical practice, and I enjoyed hearing the presentation of research evidence as well as clinical practice. I most appreciated her directly linking to clinical assessment and treatment." – M.N. (Nov. 2019)
"This course totally reframed how I viewed and interpreted the echolalic speech of some of my most severely echolalic children. There are many online resources that explain that echolalia is a good thing but this course helped explain why." – A.R. (Nov. 2019)
"I liked the steps from echolalia to spontaneous use of intelligible speech. There was so much information that I just did not know about echolalia." – S.D. (Oct. 2019)
"It was immensely helpful to understand the stages of NLA as well as how to assess. Ms. Blanc is very thorough yet easy to follow in her lecture. I liked being able to start and stop the course to fit my schedule. It was a wonderful course." – K.F. (Sept. 2019)
I liked the relevance of this topic to children with ASD and echolalia. The discussion on the NLA stages and assessment protocol were most helpful." – A.C. (Aug. 2019)
"The whole idea of language developing as gestalts and how we can help mitigate those was very interesting. I liked learning about this idea of NLA. I would've liked more treatment examples. Maybe that will be included in part 2." – H.B. (July 2019)
"I enjoyed the explanation of the stages of natural language acquisition and differentiation of gestalt versus analytic language learners. I like that the course was researched based and the information was presented in an engaging and interesting manner." – L.H. (June 2019)
"I appreciated the explanation of grammar developing when children with autism are 'ready.' I liked the explanation of the functionality of echolalia in both neuro-typical children and children with autism spectrum disorder." – A.T. (June 2019)
"I like that the course provided real examples, examples of resources to share with colleagues/families, and samples explaining each level." – A.T. (May 2019)
"The most beneficial was the assessment and treatment topics. I think the layout and content was easy to follow and in depth." – C.R. (Apr. 2019)
"The entire course was very beneficial. I loved the NLA explanation of stages and theory and rationale. The format was great." – J.L. (Mar. 2019)
"I appreciated going over the language development framework and the gestalt language learner. I liked the structure and revision of the key concepts." – A.M. (Feb. 2019)
"Totally new content to me. It will be very applicable to my current caseload. I love learning how to find the function of the echolalia and learning the stages of Natural Language Acquisition." – F.L. (Jan. 2019)
"Great information - the last three sections were great. I like examples with real clients and these sections were nice and helpful." – A.D. (Jan. 2019)
"I like the abundance of research articles referred to throughout the course. I am looking forward to going back and reading them." – K.C. (Dec. 2018)
"The stages of echolalia - I now know how to address my student's advancement through the various stages of echolalia to generation of original sentences. This was a fabulous course for my needs this year! This was a very thorough course." – J.S. (Dec. 2018)
"I do think it was interesting and helpful but it was very boring, to be honest. Videos or more excitement in voice would have been helpful. It was good information." – A.F. (Nov. 2018)
"The discussion on gestalt language processing and moving echolalic scripts to self-generated language was most beneficial." – G.L. (Oct. 2018)
"I liked learning new ways to think about echolalia and how to help children with ASD." – A.S. (Aug. 2018)
"It gave a clear step to moving forward in cases of echolalia. Presenter was very respectful of individuals with autism. Presenter spoke clearly and has a nice voice." – A.M. (Aug. 2018)
"All of it was beneficial! So helpful! The course opened my eyes to the true information about echolalia and much more effective ways to work with children who present echolalia as their major mode of communication." – K.S. (July 2018)
"I am now armed with helpful, hopeful, factual information for parents of children on the autistic spectrum." – S.H. (July 2018)
"The articles referring to echolalia being a natural part of language development in everyone were great resources." – A.S. (May 2018)
"The Gestalt language processing & the stages of language development was very interesting!" – A.R. (May 2018)
"Learning about the process of early language acquisition in children with autism, and how to facilitate learning language was beneficial." – S.H. (May 2018)
"I found the course beneficial in terms of providing me with strategies that can be used to help children who are echolalic. Specifically, in shaping the echolalic language into functional language. I really liked that ability to complete the courses on our own time versus as a group in our program." – E.S. (May 2018)
"I enjoyed the entire thing but the examples of children and breaking down where to meet them and how to provide them with intentional communication gestalts that are more appropriate to the context of the situation was most beneficial." – K.M. (Feb. 2018)
"I went through a complete graduate program and was an exceptional student, but I had never previously heard of Gestalt language and I did not know that you could turn echolalia into generative language and that it was meaningful and functional. This was a HUGE eye opener and I now know I can address these clients with a better understanding of their language abilities." – S.B. (Jan. 2018)
"The use of the assessment to place a student at a stage of language development and description of each stage was good. It was a very thorough and comprehensive course." – R.G. (Dec. 2017)
"I appreciated her going over the ways to break down echolalia language into functional language. I liked the examples of actual case studies. I expected more on the treatment; however, I also understand there is a second course specifically for treatment." – J.R. (Dec. 2017)
"As a special instructor, this is a new paradigm and explains some of the reasons we encounter whole sentences but children can't utter a single word especially on request. I would recommend this to practitioners who are not SLPs." – A.J. (Dec. 2017)
"Going over the progression of gestalt language learners was excellent. The course was easy to follow along with, very interesting, and beneficial for treatment." – M.R. (Nov. 2017)
"It was so refreshing to have a systematic approach to help children move from echolalia to self-generated language. It really changed my perspective on how we approach echolalic speech and how we 'categorize' it as meaningful or non-meaningful language." – C.H. (Oct. 2017)
"I think the assessment portion and therapy portion will be most beneficial for my daily practice. I enjoyed the depth that the lecturer went into when talking about language and what to do with the clients. I think it was a great course!" – L.W. (Sept. 2017)
"Understanding/recognizing echolalia as part of neuro-typical language development was especially beneficial. The breaks between the sections are helpful for managing time constraints that might occur during the course." – D.S. (Aug. 2017)
"Going over the process of Gestalt language development and how to support their natural process in language development was most helpful. It was great to be able to view the presentation with my peers on our time schedule. It allowed for great discussions and brainstorming." – J.G. (July 2017)
"It was extremely helpful to learn about the specific stages of NLA and how we can teach our clients to mitigate their existing echolalia into more functional language. I like how the course covered gestalt language learners for neurotypical children as well as children with ASD. I never realized there are NT children who learn language this way as well. It changes the way I assess my clients and my treatment approach completely for gestalt language learners. I would have liked to have seen videos of treatment sessions to fully understand what treatment looks like." – J.J. (June 2017)