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From Echolalia to Self-Generated Language: Case Studies in Natural Language Acquisition (On Demand Webinar) (WEB01211)

Presenter(s): Marge Blanc, MA, CCC-SLP; Lillian Stiegler, PhD, CCC-SLP; Alexandria Zachos, MS, CCC-SLP
Course Description

This webinar focuses on case examples that demonstrate a language-based approach to managing echolalia, from delayed echolalia to self-generated language. Using video clips and language sample excerpts, the speakers describe the stages of gestalt language development, illustrate the varieties of echolalia, and review case examples of the successful use of the Natural Language Acquisition (NLA) protocol to support gestalt language development in three individuals. The speakers also propose transparent terminology that can be used to help explain NLA to colleagues and families.

Content Disclosure: This course includes substantial discussion of the Natural Language Acquisition (NLA) protocol.

Learning Outcomes
You will be able to:

  • Identify the stages of gestalt language development and describe them using both traditional and more transparent terminology
  • Use the NLA protocol as a foundation for creating individualized communicative environments that will support individuals as they progress through the developmental stages
  • Advocate for the recognition/honoring of each individual’s communicative intent by all communication partners

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Hear From the Presenters:

Presenter Information

Marge Blanc, MA, CCC-SLP, has been an SLP for more than 40 years, working for 20 years as an SLP in public school settings and then as a Clinical Associate Professor at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. At the UW clinic, Blanc began applying the research of Barry Prizant and colleagues who first described gestalt language development in autism. Initial clinical successes prompted Blanc to begin collecting language samples that illustrated the progression. In 1997, Blanc founded the Communication Development Center in Madison, Wisconsin, which has provided specialized treatment for children and young adults with significant communication needs, including delayed gestalt language development, severe apraxia of speech, and whole body dyspraxia. Over the last 23 years, Blanc has presented numerous workshops and seminars on both topics. For 10 years, Blanc wrote regular articles and columns for the Autism Asperger’s Digest, and she is the author of Natural Language Acquisition on the Autism Spectrum: The Journey from Echolalia to Self-Generated Language (2012). All her articles are available on her clinic's website: Blanc has presented at ASHA and Autism Society conventions on gestalt language processing and dyspraxia, and her courses on Natural Language Acquisition (NLA) are offered through Northern Speech Services.

Financial Disclosures:

  • Founder and director of Communication Development Center, which receives author and presenter royalties from Northern Speech Services for the book Natural Language Acquisition on the Autism Spectrum: The Journey from Echolalia to Self-Generated Language (2012) and two courses presenter by the speaker
  • Financial compensation from ASHA for this presentation will go Communication Development Center

Nonfinancial Disclosures:

  • Author of Natural Language Acquisition on the Autism Spectrum: The Journey from Echolalia to Self-Generated Language (2012), in which the NLA protocol discussed in this webinar was published

Lillian Stiegler, PhD, CCC-SLP, is a professor of Communication Sciences & Disorders at Southeastern Louisiana University. She has worked with individuals on the autism spectrum for 38 years, most recently in the role of consultant for families, clinicians, and school systems. She has published several articles on autism-related topics and has contributed numerous conference presentations and continuing education workshops on state and national levels. She served for many years on Louisiana’s State Autism Team and other regional working groups. She created Louisiana’s first graduate CSD course on autism spectrum disorder and continues to teach it each summer, incorporating a minicamp for children on the autism spectrum.

Financial Disclosures:

  • Salaried professor at Southeastern Louisiana University
  • Financial compensation from ASHA for this presentation

Nonfinancial Disclosures:

  • Provides consultations to families and clinicians as a community service

Alexandria Zachos, MS, CCC-SLP, is a licensed SLP in the state of Illinois and has been practicing since 2003. Over the past 17 years, she has provided intervention for all ages in a variety of clinical settings, including public schools, home settings, acute care, and outpatient clinics. She received her Master’s degree in Speech-Language Pathology from MGH Institute of Health Professions in Boston and her Bachelor’s degree in Speech and Hearing Science from the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign. Zachos founded Social Butterfly Inc. – a niche private practice specializing in the treatment of stuttering, social communication, delayed echolalia, and language – in 2009, and it has grown from a tiny summer program into a busy outpatient clinic. Zachos presented at the ASHA Convention in 2017 and 2018 on Natural Language Acquisition and delayed echolalia. In 2020, she developed the membership site to help SLPs learn how to identify gestalt language processors and treat delayed echolalia.

Financial Disclosures:

  • Owner and paid employee of Social Butterfly Inc.
  • Runs Meaningful Speech, a membership site where Social Butterfly Inc. receives payment for education provided to member SLPs
  • Financial compensation from ASHA for this presentation

Nonfinancial Disclosures:

  • Provides free consultations to families and SLPs regarding delayed echolalia

Assessment Type

Self-assessment—Think about what you learned and report on the Completion Form how you will use your new knowledge.

To earn continuing education credit, you must complete the learning assessment by the end date below.

Program History and CE Information

Content origination date: March 16, 2021
End date: March 16, 2026

This course is offered for 0.2 ASHA CEUs (Intermediate level, Professional area).

Subscribers Ratings
PDH: 2
ASHA CEU*: 0.2
Item #(s): WEB01211
Available Through: March 16, 2026