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$147.00 USD

96% rating - reviews

1.05  ASHA CEUs

Natural Language Acquisition in Autism: Echolalia To Self-Generated Language, Level 3 #e286


Presenter: Marge Blanc, MA, CCC-SLP

NLA Level 3 Course

Strategies for Individualizing Treatment for Gestalt Language Processors

This comprehensive course covers every aspect of supporting gestalt language development, and includes strategies for individualizing treatment for gestalt language processors.


This course builds on information presented in the NLA Level 1 and NLA Level 2 courses. These two courses are recommended as prerequisites prior to enrolling in this Level 3 Course.


Enrollment in this course includes the opportunity to join the Natural Language Acquisition Practitioners.

This NLA Level 3 Course presents an all-new look at Natural Language Acquisition (NLA) treatment. This comprehensive program (10.5 hours) covers every aspect of supporting gestalt language development, including physical supports for self-regulation. Presented are strategies for individualizing treatment for gestalt language processors of any age – from 18 months to 28 years.

After a short review of the Stages of Natural Language Acquisition, four case examples are presented to illustrate the variety of considerations in individualizing treatment. Extensive videos, language samples, and goal-writing examples are included, complemented by a look at the groundbreaking work in the neuroscience of relationship. An in-depth study of the juxtaposition of NLA Stage 3 and the pre-sentence grammatical structures that support self-generated language will provide the SLP with a solid foundation for supporting developmental grammar. A separate section addresses language gestalts as carriers of meaning and emotion.

The final section features comments from a variety of individuals about their experiences with NLA and their hopes for the future. The resounding feeling is of optimism, and a future in which gestalt language acquisition is well-understood as simply one kind of natural language acquisition – so that treatment can more fully address clients' individual profiles. Course is offered for 1.05 ASHA CEUs – 10.5 contact hours.

Course Overview

  • The Process of Gestalt Language Development (55:44)
  • Individualized Treatment (2:02:37)
  • Supporting Individualized Treatment (1:49:18)
  • Grammar Development in Gestalt Language Processors (2:45:04)
  • The Hidden Messages in Scripting (1:12:54)
  • What We Have Learned; What We Want for the Future (1:09:49)
  • Post Testing (self-paced)

"This course is a phenomenal in-depth deep-dive into all the areas the first two courses left you wondering about. We can truly wrap our heads around Stages 3 and 4, and it all makes so much sense! The case studies are incredible, and really help solidify and put into action all that Marge teaches. Every single pediatric SLP needs this information. It really should be required coursework in graduate school."

– A.Z., prior course participant

The content of this online CE course does not focus exclusively on any specific proprietary product or service. 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" which 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.

Course Format

Video presentation. Downloadable handouts and other resources are included. Stop and re-start the course at any point. Learners retain access to course content after completion for ongoing reference and review.

Reviews

"Good explanation of how Gestalt Language Processors learn language differently and that echolalia is not disordered language acquisition. I liked the true examples of how gestalts are used to communicate different concepts/thoughts." C.D. (Nov. 2022)

"Learning about grammar and how to analyze appropriately (even though grammar is still silly ;D ). Course was easy to pace myself over time. It gave real examples. It was given from many perspectives (SLP, parents, etc.)." L.H. (Nov. 2022)

"Liked seeing demonstrations of therapy sessions as well as seeing clients who made tremendous progress. I liked the shared information and thoroughness of every guest speaker." A.S. (Nov. 2022)

"I liked the videos." D.J. (Nov. 2022)

"All of this information is incredibly beneficial to the children and families with whom I work. This topic is so interesting to me." D.J. (Nov. 2022)

"It validates and helps strengthen my understanding of gestalt learners." L.H. (Nov. 2022)

"Wow! There was so much information. I feel like all sections provided beneficial information for daily practice. She did a great job of having different speakers and video clips to help the 10-hour course move along and keep our interest." L.G. (Oct. 2022)

"I liked seeing Marge's wonderful therapy space." J.D. (Oct. 2022)

"Learning how to use gestalt first in therapy - I've always approached therapy from a play and sensorimotor premise. Seeing how to use gestalt to work backward to the single-word level makes complete sense now! Great videos. Marge is fun to watch and listen to." A.P. (Oct. 2022)

"Good examples and real-world cases. I liked the goals and targets for gestalt language processors." K.R. (Oct. 2022)

"I liked the examples and hearing from a variety of people. And the discussion about self-regulation and how it truly affects a child's participation and language." T.N. (Oct. 2022)

"I really enjoyed all of the videos that showed NLA first-hand." S.S. (Oct. 2022)

"Liked seeing the kids developing their language, the grammar section, the importance of self regulation, and that there is no limit for language if it is useful for the child." D.C. (Oct. 2022)

"I could pace myself, one class at a time, one session at a time, go back when I felt I did not understand the concept, taking time to process and implement the information." D.C. (Oct. 2022)

"I liked the client examples and references from other clinicians to their own learning through practice." S.A. (Oct. 2022)

"The course allowed me to learn at my own pace and take in information from current clients to apply. Liked the goals and how you integrate the goals into specific therapy." M.C. (Oct. 2022)

"The course was systematically presented. Learning the grammar development with respect to gestalt language processing was beneficial." A.H. (Sept. 2022)

"I loved learning more about the sensory techniques to help boost my speech sessions! Of course, learning about the gestalt language processing is why I came here too. :)" T.R. (Sept. 2022)

"It validated and put names to what I felt about working with children with autism. I have always believed in a play based language focus and I feel with all of this new research, it is validating."  D.B. (Sept. 2022)

"I very much enjoyed seeing client examples and video clips of the different types of gestalts. The video examples of the clients (especially Jez and Zoe) and clinicians helped NLA and gestalt language processing come to life! Additionally, I was happy to see the information about moving away from that traditional model of therapy and moving into a more neurodiverse-affirming, child led, and affirming interests, thoughts, feelings, and echolalia as unique beautiful parts of our clients. More and more clinicians, parents, and educators need to know more about this. Accepting our kids as they are, validating their ways of thinking, feeling, and communicating is life-changing!!"  J.B. (Sept. 2022)

"This course has been crucial to enhancing my therapy skills with GLPs. I liked the real life examples."  B.S. (Sept. 2022)

"Best continuing ed course I've ever taken!"  K.S. (Aug. 2022)

"All of the course was beneficial, and the discussion about how it's not about "correct" grammar, but self-generated grammar was meaningful. I liked the many examples as well as Marge's teaching style."  K.G. (Aug. 2022)

"I work with autistic students so everything that was discussed is beneficial to my daily practice. I loved the visuals."  S.H. (Aug. 2022)

"Learning to listen carefully to scripting and to read between the lines (and talk to others on the team) to figure out the meaning was beneficial for my practice." M.M. (Aug. 2022)

"The entire course was very helpful. This gave me a structure of how to educate my co-workers about gestalt language and how to describe this best to families. The course will definitely help me with better goal writing and focusing more on mitigation and stage 3, when the kids are ready. The grammar section was great - I had no idea that you can introduce verbs too early, and this will be the biggest shift in my practice." E.K. (July  2022)

"I liked that I could take the course at my own pace." M.L. (July 2022)

"Highly applicable to supporting my students." L.W. (July 2022)

"I found the information about sensory integration very important. Also the explanation of individual treatment sessions was helpful. I really liked the perspective coming from a mother. MAN, her smile could light up the world." J.R. (July 2022)

"Learning about the hidden meaning in gestalts, learning how to individualize treatment for GLPs. I like that it targets an area that I really needed to learn more about!" M.M. (July 2022)

"I feel that the bulk of my caseload consists of NLA processors and I can already see that shifting my focus of intervention is improving their willingness to engage and communicate in the context of treatment sessions." L.G. (July 2022)

"Extremely detailed and informative. I liked all of the content." D.T. (July 2022)

"This course was enriching and inspiring." R.S. (July 2022)

"Oh my goodness. ALL of it. I wish that I had this all ten years ago. I knew the term gestalt and that some kids learned language as "wholes" but I never knew what to do with that information. The DST and DSS were also new to me (or maybe long forgotten?). This is a game changer in my work with autistic students!" S.C. (June 2022)

"I loved the videos of clinicians at work with kids." K.C. (June 2022)

"The section on sensory regulation was very helpful. It was also very useful to learn a bit about how AAC can be used with GLPs.  I loved how in-depth this course was. I also really appreciated all of the case studies/real-life examples." J.W. (June 2022)

"Big emphasis on relationship and connection was very well portrayed throughout." T.S. (June 2022)

"Everything was great! From the basics to the client videos and especially the parent perspective. I appreciated so much that Marge presented primarily from her speech center and not from behind a desk." S.L. (May 2022)

"I liked learning about the differences between gestalt and analytic language processors as well as employing more appropriate language strategies for gestalt language processors." S.L. (May 2022)

"I liked both the specific 'how to' of scoring the NLA and DSS, and also the more general perspective of respecting gestalt processors. The guest speakers helped break up the course." G.H. (May 2022)

"I liked the real life examples – seeing it in action is so much more beneficial than hearing what to do." K.M. (May 2022)

"I am astonished that I have been practicing for almost 25 years with this population and knew nothing about NLA. I liked Marge's easy, loving, joyful, sensory-filled approach to therapy. I began in a rehab center collaborating with OTs and PTs and have felt that it was right for my kids. I did not always get a lot of support even when that positive results were evident. Now, I have the validation and immediately added a trampoline and BIG JOE pillow to my not very big, but very fun playroom." K.K. (May 2022)

"I liked all of it, especially the information on moving into stage 3 and the grammar section with the DSS and DST." C.K. (May 2022)

"I liked the video examples and parent stories." H.J. (Apr. 2022)

"Enlightenment onto the importance of echolalia as acceptable, part of a child's development, and how vital they are for "connecting" to others. Seeing the PASSION in of all the therapists when doing their job, when connecting with their clients...the passion to succeed in communicating with ASD kiddos and adults." A.B. (Mar. 2022)

"I liked the examples of how to mitigate at stage 3 - Marge's DSS chart." D.S. (Mar. 2022)

"I liked the developmental sentence scoring, and the ease of access of the course. " J.C. (Mar. 2022)

"I currently have a student with Autism and he is echolalic. I now have the knowledge to teach him language." D.C. (Mar. 2022)

"I loved all of it! Especially the grammar section." J.S. (Mar. 2022)

"I currently have a student who needs to begin to move from Level 2 to Level 3. This course was very helpful in helping me plan my therapy. I liked the content because it addressed treatment and gave many examples of techniques being used. I also liked that it was recorded and that I could work at my own pace." M.C. (Mar. 2022)

"I liked how to model gestalts that can be easily mitigated to move a child from stage 1 to stage 2." K.P. (Feb. 2022)

"I appreciated the deep dives into various specific cases to see different ways GLPs can sound and different ways NLA approaches can be implemented. I love REALLY picking apart language development, and this course went full speech nerd with me."  S.L. (Feb. 2022)

"I liked all of it – real life examples. It was perfect!." D.B. (Feb. 2022)

"There was soooo much in this course that will impact my practice. I am re-visiting the way I write goals for my gestalt processors and trying to follow the NLA skill progressions. It's amazing how much more engaged children are when I follow their lead and don't force artificial/unreasonable expectations (e.g., all the sentence strips).  I appreciated the video examples and the parent input." D.M. (Jan. 2022)

"Level 3 of the NLA courses is a must for every SLP working with children who are gestalt language processors. Levels 1 and 2 allowed us to learn the NLA stages and guiding treatment principles. In this Level 3 course we learn how to individualize NLA intervention for specific clients with a host of differences, how and why to incorporate movement, and the power of grammar. Marge eloquently guides this course as we learn to tailor NLA intervention to meet the needs of real children and their families within meaningful and engaging contexts, ultimately fostering sincere and organic expression." C.H.

"With the background of knowing about NLA assessment and stages, the level three course gave me an understanding of how to incorporate this knowledge into treatment. I am able to set up an affirming environment for reciprocal, self-generated language without relying on frustrating techniques such as withholding items." E.F.

"Marge Blanc does it again! This course is a phenomenal in-depth deep-dive into all the areas the first two courses left you wondering about. We can truly wrap our heads around Stages 3 and 4, and it all makes so much sense! The case studies are incredible, and really help solidify and put into action all that Marge teaches. Every single pediatric SLP needs this information. It really should be required coursework in graduate school." A.Z.

Course Objectives

  1. Describe intervention strategies for gestalt language processors at various ages, language levels, and levels of self-regulation. (Sections 2, 3, 4, 5)

  2. Explain the rationale for intervention goals and strategies at each stage of Natural Language Acquisition. (Sections 1, 2, 3, 4, 5)

  3. Contrast Stage 3, single-word combinations with Developmental Sentence Types (DST) of pre-sentence grammar. (Section 4)

  4. Describe the natural progression of early grammar at NLA Stage 4 through an understanding of Developmental Sentence Scoring (DSS). (Section 4)

  5. Explain individuals’ use of language gestalts (both early and remnant) at various ages and stages. (Sections 1, 2, 3, 5, 6)

  6. Formulate some questions and/or ideas about the use of AAC for gestalt language processors. (Section 2, 5, 6)

Presenter & Disclosures

Marge Blanc, MA, CCC-SLP, is the Director of the Communication Development Center (CDC) in Madison, Wisconsin, the non-profit clinic she founded in 1997. Until two years ago, CDC provided individualized physical and linguistic support for neurotypical and neuro-divergent children and young adults with complex communication profiles. Now CDC is the center of a growing international effort to share research and resources about gestalt language development.

Marge began combining clinical practice and clinical research in 1994 after she met her first autistic client as a Clinical Associate Professor at the University of Wisconsin. Recognizing his ‘delayed echolalia,’ Marge delved into the work of Barry Prizant, Ann Peters, and other qualitative researchers who had documented gestalt language processing (GLP) as a way of processing language naturally — and outlined the stages of gestalt language development. After her client followed the stages in the way predicted by Prizant, Marge decided to follow Prizant’s recommendation to conduct research to describe that process in detail. Founding her clinic in 1997, Marge continued to document how GLPs develop language from ‘delayed echolalia’ to self-generated language. Marge coined the term Natural Language Acquisition (NLA) to describe that process, and to emphasize the fact that ‘echolalia’ is not a pathology and should be recognized as the first stage of gestalt language development.

Marge first used the term ‘NLA’ in 2005 when she published the article, “Finding the Words: to Tell the Whole Story,” based on the case study of her first autistic GLP. Marge continued her clinical research until 2010, and assembled her findings in the book, Natural Language Acquisition on the Autism Spectrum: the Journey from Echolalia to Self-Generated Language, published in 2012. Endorsed by Prizant as “the most comprehensive consideration of echolalia and language characteristics of persons with autism to date,” the NLA book is known as a “seminal work” that “brings us back to a crucial understanding of language characteristics and language acquisition in ASD…” (Prizant, 2015)

NLA describes the first four stages of gestalt language development identified by Prizant, adds the two additional stages researchers had identified as further grammar development, and quantifies the developmental process. NLA can be used in assessment, measuring progress, and supporting the process of gestalt language development. The NLA book became the sourcebook for the courses, the presentations, and the resources that now have proliferated.

Along with Prizant and two other colleagues, Marge presented NLA at the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association Convention in 2014. Lillian Stiegler was in that audience, and recognizing the significance of NLA, this seasoned CSD professor wrote an AJSLP review article bringing NLA to the academic community in 2015. Marge then authored several NLA presentations and workshops on NLA in 2016, and these steps spawned a movement that is now taking NLA into countries in North, South, and Central America, Europe, and Asia. Marge’s pioneering research is helping SLPs, SLTs, and other speech and language professionals understand that echolalia is meaningful communication, and the first stage in the journey towards self-generated language.

Marge is the author of three online continuing education programs offered through Northern Speech Services: Natural Language Acquisition in Autism: From Echolalia to Self-Generated Language (Level 1, Level 2, and Level 3). Her most recent course adds crucial insights to the foundational courses of Levels 1 and 2, and dives deep into the stages of Natural Language Acquisition from Stage 1 (use of gestalts) to Stage 6 (use of complex grammar). Marge also presents regularly to school districts and other educational organizations, and provides networking and education for Speech-Language Pathologists through the CDC website, www.communicationdevelopmentcenter.com 

Presenter Disclosures:

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.

Intended Audience/Accreditation

asha ce approved provider

This program is offered for 1.05 ASHA CEUs (Intermediate Level; Professional Area).

Intended Audience

  • SLP

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:

  • Current ASHA Member
  • ASHA Certificate of Clinical Competence (CCC) Holder
  • Licensed by a state or provincial regulatory agency to practice speech-language pathology (SLP) or audiology
  • Credentialed by a state regulatory agency to practice SLP or audiology
  • Credentialed by a national regulatory agency to practice SLP or audiology
  • Engaged in a Clinical Fellowship under the supervision of an individual with their ASHA CCC
  • Currently enrolled in a masters or doctoral program in SLP or audiology

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:

  • California: NSS is approved as a provider of continuing education by the California Speech-Language Pathology & Audiology Board. Provider #PDP4. Online CEU limits may apply; please contact SLPAHADB for current online CEU acceptance policies.
  • Iowa: NSS is approved as a provider of continuing education by the Iowa Board of Speech Pathology and Audiology Examiners. Provider #169.
  • Kansas: NSS is approved as a provider of continuing education by the Kansas Department of Health and Environment. Provider #LTS-S0005.
  • Florida: NSS is approved as a provider of continuing education by the Florida Speech-Language Pathology and Audiology Board. Provider #SPA-026.
  • New Jersey: NSS is approved as a provider of continuing education by the New Jersey Department of Education. Provider #1654.

Frequently Asked Questions

Customer Support: Please phone 888.337.3866 or email info@northernspeech.com.

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.

Content Access:

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.

Purchase Orders:

Purchase orders are currently not accepted for online orders, if you wish to submit a purchase order please do so at info@northernspeech.com or fax to 888-696-9655.

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.

Receiving CEUs:

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.

Testing requirements:

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.

Course formats:

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.

Course handouts:

Most of our online courses provide a link to download the accompanying handout as a PDF file. 

Group discounts:

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.

Computer requirements:

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. 

Special Needs:

Please click here for any special needs requests, and we will do our best to accommodate them. 

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