Clearing up Misconceptions: AAC & Gestalt Language Processing

Jan 18, 2023

Although there are many discussions happening in our field about programming AAC systems for gestalt language processors, systems are currently only created with analytic language processors in mind. Let’s talk about ways you can program systems for gestalt language processors and current misconceptions floating around. 

Common Misconceptions about AAC & Gestalt Language Processors

  • We do not need to only use phrase-based systems with gestalt language processors such as PODD or TD Snap (although those are great options, but not the only ones). 
  • We do not want to replace core vocabulary on AAC systems. Users will eventually need these single words when they get to the later stages of their language development. 
  • We are not sequencing one word at a time to build sentences. This is an approach we use with analytic language processors. 
  • We do not want to delete gestalts/buttons once a user has mitigated it or moved to the later stages. (They may need to access it later! Even stage 4+ GLPs often go back to gestalts, either because they want to or they can’t access flexible language in that moment.)

What we do want to do with AAC systems for Gestalt Language Processors

  • We want to organize the system in a way that will grow with the child as they progress through the stages all the way to original, flexible language. 
  • We want to work with the child’s current device and add their gestalts that they’re currently using and/or mitigating and the gestalts we’re currently modeling (if they’re in Stages 1 or 2. )
  • We want to make sure the gestalts we’re adding into their device are individual to that child. We do not want to go with a standard set of gestalts for every child. Gestalts need to be meaningful to them. For example, adding parts of a movie clip that they have a gestalt from.

Features we do want in the systems we choose for gestalt language processors (Not all systems will have these available) 

We want to use systems that have the following features: 

  • Ability to link and program videos
  • Ability to add recorded speech 
  • Systems that you can create scene pages or add in your own photos
  • Have a color coded language organization (for when they get to Stage 4+) 

Interested in learning in-depth about determining if a GLP would benefit from AAC, strategies to support them, and programming their devices?

Consider joining the waitlist for our new AAC for Gestalt Language Processors Meaningful Speech course that will be released on 2/3/2023! The course will go over in-depth how to identify, evaluate and support gestalt language processors who use AAC or may need AAC. There will be modules on different apps, strategies and suggestions for programming. For more information & to join our waitlist, click here.

Look for a speech-language pathologist (SLP) who "gets it" and can help you in supporting your child's language development. Check out our registry for SLPs who understand gestalt language processing and child-led therapy.


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