Gestalt Language Development: Stage 1

If you are new to the world of Gestalt Language Processing (GLP), I would first begin here with the GLP Comprehensive Guide and check out our other great blogs as a wonderful place to start on your GLP journey.

If you are already a bit familiar with GLP or know your kiddo is in Stage 1 of GLP, then you are in the right spot!

There is lots of variety in what you may hear in stage 1, however, the goal and how we support our kiddos’ in this stage is the same. The goal in Stage 1 is to increase the amount and variety of mitigable gestalts (or chunks of language) that your kiddo is using to spontaneously communicate, and the support is always acknowledging, digging deep to investigate the meaning and modeling language!

What you may hear in Gestalt Language Development Stage 1…

In Stage 1, you may here a few or many single words. Although your child may be using single words, this is different than Stage 3 (which we will get to in another blog). In this stage, your kiddo’s single words are “stuck,” meaning they do not combine these single words to communicate. You may also notice your kiddo’s speech is unintelligible, meaning it is difficult to understand. Your child is using rich intonation, but you are having a hard time understanding what they are saying most of the time. In this stage, you may also notice that your child using verbatim scripts that they have heard other people say, to communicate. This could also include scripts from TV shows, movies or songs. It is very important to remember that these repeated long scripts of language are serving a communicative intent; this is where our investigative work comes in. You may notice some or all the above in your kiddo when in this stage.

How can you support your Stage 1 GLP?

It is important to always acknowledge all your child’s communication by affirming their intent to communicate, even if you don’t understand what they are saying. This acknowledgement can be in the form of a smile, a head nod, saying “yeah!”, and/or repeating what they said. When we get curious and investigate our child’s communication, we can more deeply connect with what they are really trying to communicate with us. When a kiddo in this stage is repeating scripts, they are most likely always trying to communicate something with you. Try to figure out what the gestalt means, go back to the original source (the TV show, movie or song) or collaborate with other relevant people in your child’s life to really connect to the intention of the communication. Model what you think your child wants to say. It is completely okay if you do not get this right the first time, and you may need to try a few times but when you do get it right, you will know because your child will connect with you in a way that will let you know you got it! They could look at you, smile or repeat back what you said, showing you that you gave them the words that they wanted! Also, focus on modeling functional, meaningful, and declarative language. Use rich intonation and take the focus off asking your child questions.

Curious in learning more about GLP?

If you are wondering if your kiddo may be a GLP, book a complimentary consultation with me today so we can dig deeper into your child’s strengths.

If you know your child is a GLP and are wanting more support, book a parent coaching session with me today

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Sholeh Shahinfar


Sholeh Shahinfar is the Founder of Valued Voices, a licensed Speech Language Pathologist, Child Communication Specialist and Certified Oral Motor Therapist. She is passionate about uplifting children’s voices in the world and inspiring self-expression. In her free time, Sholeh embraces a vegan lifestyle, loves going to the ocean, exploring nature with her pup Kobe, practicing yoga, traveling, and spending time with her loved ones.