Understanding and supporting a child with gestalt language processing (GLP) can be both challenging and rewarding. Gestalt language processing involves acquiring chunks of language, known as gestalts, which are often picked up from stories, TV shows, movies, or phrases heard from others. These chunks form the foundation for language development and eventually lead to more flexible, original speech. Our Speech Therapy team has put together some helpful do’s and don’ts to guide parents in communicating effectively with their gestalt language processor child.


Acknowledge Your Child’s Gestalts as Meaningful Communication

  • GLPs often use scripts or gestalts from various sources. Even if you don’t fully understand their meaning, acknowledge these utterances. Engage with them using their preferred gestalts, repeating back, smiling, nodding, or responding with affirmations like “yes” or “okay.”

Follow Your Child’s Lead

  • Let your child engage in their preferred activities during playtime without trying to change their play. All forms of play are acceptable. Following your child’s interests will elicit more engagement and communication.

Model Language Naturally

  • During daily routines and play, model language in a natural way. Avoid asking too many questions, as your child might not yet be ready to respond, and excessive questioning can create pressure to communicate.

Provide Modeling from the Child’s Perspective Without Expectation

  • Infer what your child might be trying to say and provide a model. It’s up to your child to decide whether to repeat the model. They might not imitate it if it doesn’t resonate with their intention.

Collaborate with Professionals

  • Work with your child’s Speech-Language Pathologist (SLP) to determine their current stage of development. Collaborating with your child’s Occupational Therapist (OT) can help you understand their sensory profile and activities that may regulate your child, facilitating language development. Some GLPs move through these stages independently, while others need support through speech therapy.


Don’t Attempt to Eliminate Scripting or Use of Gestalts

  • These language chunks are meaningful to your child and serve as building blocks for language development.

Don’t Take Your Child’s Gestalts Literally

  • Your child uses gestalts for a purpose that may not be immediately apparent. Gestalts acquired during emotionally significant moments may relate more to the context of their acquisition than their literal meaning. Investigate when your child uses a particular gestalt and what it might mean.

Don’t Use “Me” or “You” When Modeling for Your Child

  • Personal pronouns can cause confusion and lead to pronoun reversals (e.g., saying “Do you want a snack?” when requesting a snack). Instead, use “we” statements, such as “We need a snack!”

Don’t Assume Your Child Can Respond to Questions

  • Depending on their stage of development, your child might not have the language skills to answer questions. They may not be ignoring you but might lack the ability to respond appropriately. If this is the case, reduce questions and increase comments.

Don’t Assume All SLPs Know About Gestalt Language Processing

  • GLP is a new area in the field. Finding an SLP who understands your child’s communication style is crucial for progress in communication skills.


Each child’s communication style is unique. Collaborating with your child’s treatment team can help guide you in creating a supportive home environment. For more information on gestalt language processing (GLP) and natural language acquisition (NLA), please visit the Communication Development Center.

Is your child struggling to generate their own language? Do you think they might be a gestalt language processor in need of support? Our speech team is trained in gestalt language processing and is ready to help. For more resources and information, visit our Linktree for weekly updates and valuable insights.

At Kidz Therapy Zone, we are dedicated to providing resources and support for parents of children with unique communication styles. Stay connected with us through our Linktree for continuous updates and helpful information.