Gestalt Language Processing & Echolalia Resources

Below you will find resources, book suggestions, and articles to help you understand gestalt language processing and echolalia.

As I have said before, certain things about hyperlexia make so much more sense once you learn about gestalt language processing. It's an incredibly important topic to learn about if you truly want to understand your hyperlexic child and their unique learning style.

Over the past couple of years, I've been reading everything I can about gestalt language processing and echolalia. Now I'm starting to write and share about it as well.

So if you're wanting to learn more about gestalt language processing and echolalia, especially in relation to hyperlexia, then you're in the right spot.  Below you will find helpful articles, book recommendations, and other resources.

Gestalt language processing & echolalia resources

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What is Gestalt Language Processing?

Gestalt language processing is a different way to learn and acquire language. With this learning style, language is processed in chunks called gestalts versus individual words. It is a natural way to develop language.

Since they learn in chunks, gestalt processors communicate using echolalia and scripts. Over time, they can eventually break down and recombine these gestalts to create new spontaneous utterances.

Gestalt language processing is common in hyperlexic and/or autistic individuals, but it is not exclusive to these populations. 

Resources on Gestalt Language & Echolalia

While I might not have much on this topic yet, the following articles are quite comprehensive. They should definitely give you a great understanding of gestalt language learning, especially as it relates to hyperlexia. You'll also find information on related topics such as echolalia and declarative language.

Useful Book Suggestions for Learning More About Gestalt Language Processing

If you'd like to read more about gestalt language processing, then you might want to check out these books. They are great resources for learning more about the gestalt learning style.

Natural Language Acquisition book

1. Natural Language Acquisition on the Autism Spectrum by Marge Blanc

This book is likely the bible of echolalia and gestalt processing. It's also another lengthy book at over 300 pages and it is geared more towards professionals like speech therapists.

This book is worth the read as it will talk about the stages of natural language acquisition. Basically, it shows you how to move from gestalts and echolalia to self-generated language.

2. Gestalt Language Processing Handbook: Handouts for Coaching and Education by Kathryn Arnold

This handbook from Meaningful Speech is more a series of handouts than a book per se, but it is excellent. Even though I already knew quite a bit about gestalt language processing (or at least I thought I did!), I couldn't believe how many new things I learned from these handouts.

Professionals and therapists alike will love that you can print what you need and hand them out to the families and clients they serve. And parents will appreciate the easy to digest information and the handy dandy form letters about gestalt language processing that they can pass along to teachers and family members.

It's also a great complement to the Meaningful Speech course on gestalt language processing, which I highly recommend as well. By the way, use coupon code DYAN to save 5% on the handbook or course.

More Than Words book

3. More Than Words by Fern Sussman

This book might seem huge and overwhelming at first. It's over 400 pages after all! 

However, you will find that it's easy to digest, especially with plenty of white space and illustrations to make the book seem less intimating. You're going to find that this book is a fantastic resource for helping your child communicate.

While it isn't solely focused on gestalt learning, you'll find lots of great tips geared specifically towards these types of learners.

The Units of Language Acquisition PDF

4. The Units of Language Acquisition by Ann M. Peters

This 100-ish page book (or is it just a giant paper? I'm not sure!) was first released in the 1980s, but was recently updated in 2021. I personally haven't read through the entire thing yet, but you can grab a PDF copy from the Communication Development Center here. Scroll until you find it.

Where You Can Learn More About Gestalt Language Processing: Additional Resources

Still want to learn more about gestalt language processing? In this section, you'll find some handouts, research articles, videos, and other resources that might be helpful.

Courses & Education

  • The Meaningful Speech Course & AAC for Gestalt Language Processors Course (save 5% with coupon code DYAN)- I highly recommend taking the original course (and the AAC one too, if interested!), especially if you're wanting to better understand and support gestalt language processors and/or hyperlexic learners. 
    • It's perfect for learning more about the ins and outs of gestalt language processing and the stages of Natural Language Acquisition. 
    • There are two versions available, one geared towards parents and one geared towards professionals (which comes with a certificate and CMH).

Meaningful Speech Courses & Handbook on Gestalt Language Processing


  • Natural Language Acquisition Handout by Marge Blanc (you can find a copy here as well as other articles)

Social Media Resources



Looking for an NLA Trained Speech Therapist?

  • Natural Language Acquisition Trained Clinician Registry from Meaningful Speech - Looking for a speech therapist in your area who is familiar with gestalt language processing and Natural Language Acquisition? Try searching this registry. It's fantastic. It's actually how we found the perfect speech therapist for my son J.
  • NLA SLP Registry from Communication Development Center - Another option for finding a speech therapist familiar with gestalt language processing and Natural Language Acquistion.

Gestalt language processing & echolalia resources