Natural Language Acquisition on the Autism Spectrum




Connect with your students on the autism spectrum, and watch them grow!
Echolalia unscripted! Echolalia communicates! And it jump-starts our students' natural language development!

This ground-breaking book will show you how to:

  • Recognize the meaning and intentions behind echolalia.
  • Support students on the autism spectrum from echolalia to self-generated language.
  • Bring this information to families and your school teams.

In Natural Language Acquisition on the Autism Spectrum, we are introduced to 'invisible' echolalia, the kind we barely pay attention to in our typically-developing youngsters. It slips under the radar, and we think nothing of it. But in autism, it's really late. And obvious. And seemingly pervasive. And that's the subject of this ground-breaking book. Echolalia in our kids with autism is just like the 'typical' variety, just later, much later. The good news, though, is that it communicates, and it jump-starts language development! In-Depth Training Available >

Read this book, and you will learn all you need to know to understand your students who use echolalia. You will learn to listen for meaning, to present language at the right level, and to support your students towards the next steps of NATURAL language development.

Research determined decades ago that kids who use echolalia are communicating — and jump-starting their journey towards self-generated language. NLA builds on that foundation and reports the progress of students over time. It tells the real stories of real kids and empowers professionals and parents to track the heart and meaning of children's expression. It gives professionals and parents the freedom to 'be there' with children — to truly listen and to converse in a form that is meaningful to each child.

NLA does this by acknowledging echolalia as a stage of language development: the one a child is ready for as we shape and support it towards the stages of language development. No longer are we tempted to 'teach' language like a skill. Now we can grow language as true development, natural development: Natural Language Acquisition.

As we learn to implement the principles of natural language acquisition, kids make progress-true, developmental progress. When we tune into the intent of a child's language, the regulatory needs of the child, and the child's life context, we can provide appropriate support for real language development.

Open your mind to a new understanding: our kids with autism are communicating with us! They are doing their best, at their language-development level! And they will be able to develop more sophisticated forms of communication with you as their guide.

Open this book, and share it with the others who support your students on this ride of life. Enjoy!

Additional Photos

What's Included

Target Audience

For Speech-Language Pathologists working with children with autism ages 2 to 20 years. This book is useful:

  • As guidance for parents and educators
  • As a textbook for classes in language development
  • As a source book for Speech-Language Pathologists

It includes all the information a practicing SLP needs to assess and support language development in children who use echolalia, from the beginning stages to the advanced stages of language development.

From assessment protocol and treatment planning to inspiring stories, catchy illustrations, and extensive language samples, this book has everything you need to guide your students through the stages of Natural Language Acquisition!


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 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.

Presenter Disclosures:

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.

Customer Reviews

"Natural Language Acquisition on the Autism Spectrum: The Journey from Echolalia to Self-Generated Language is a wonderful resource that provides the most comprehensive consideration of echolalia and language characteristics of persons with autism to date.

In this seminal work, Marge Blanc, an experienced clinician and clinical researcher, brings us back to a crucial understanding of language characteristics and language acquisition in ASD based on her deep understanding of language development from a social-pragmatic, child-centered perspective. Unfortunately, too many educators and therapists hold on to outdated and disproven perceptions of echolalia and gestalt language and attempt to 'treat' echolalia with a lack of knowledge of the historical context and research basis of our understanding of language development in ASD.

By looking at echolalia only through a behavioral lens of pathology rather than through a developmental perspective based on research on autism and typical development, such practices may actually be hindering functional language development. It is hoped that this important work will help educators, therapists and parents move to more contemporary understandings and practices.

This book is a 'must-read' for all who care about supporting social communication for persons with ASD based on research and sound clinical practice."

Barry M. Prizant, Ph.D., CCC-SLP
Adjunct Professor
Brown University

"I love Marge Blanc’s work. She mentions that NLA is useful for neurodivergent and neurotypical gestalt language learners." Lawra E., SLP (Mar. 2019)

"I love this book. It has totally changed the way I think about echolalia and scripted language." Cristi D., SLP (Mar. 2018)

"I love this book. I reference it often." Steffani W., SLP (Mar. 2018)

"A few weeks ago, someone recommended this book to me. I'm only halfway through, but it has really changed how I do therapy (or want to do therapy) with a couple of my kids!" – Kori M., SLP (Aug. 2017)

"Thank you for your work in helping children with Autism. I was floored by how much insight it has given me into my own students!" – SLP (Jan. 2017)

"I now own two copies of your book and have read it in its entirety, but have read certain sections repeatedly...sometimes with tears in my eyes, because it is so beautiful. I integrated your work into my grad course in ASD this past July, and shared your writings and ideas with my students." – L.S., PhD, CCC-SLP

"This is the language course we missed in school." – Leslie W., MA, CCC-SLP

"Marge's work will revolutionize your thinking about your child's language and help you understand the depth of meaning behind it!" – Megan S., MS, CCC-SLP

"This book feels very personal, but it's bigger than that: it is profound and awe-inspiring." – Kristen P.L., MS, CCC-SLP

"This book is marvelous!" – Kjersten S., MS, CCC-SLP

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