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Echolalia and Gestalt Language Development

Gestalt language processors use echolalia to communicate. It's their natural way of developing language and should be acknowledged and validated.

Echolalia is the immediate or delayed use of language from another source (e.g., movies, shows, parents, books).

Kids who develop language this way are different from kids who learn a word and then start adding words together to make phrases and sentences. Instead, gestalt language processors learn "chunks" or gestalts of language. A speech therapist can support a child in learning more gestalts or help to break up gestalts into smaller parts to increase the way in which words and phrases are used.

Two important takeaways about gestalt language processors:

1. Never dismiss their echolalia. Acknowledge it by repeating it back and then offer a new gestalt in addition to it.

2. Avoid asking questions or quizzing gestalt language processors. Try providing opportunities for them to share information or make comments on something instead.

Additional Resources:

Meaningful Speech is doing great work to educate others on echolalia and Natural Language Acquisition.

Marge Blanc has done exceptional research in the area and wrote this informative article.


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