Thursday Nov 11, 2021

Alexandria Zachos: Supporting Spontaneous Speech in People Who Script

This week on TWT, we are excited to present Rachel’s interview with the amazing Alexandria Zachos! Alexandria is an SLP, educator, and private practice owner who specializes in treating delayed echolalia (aka scripting) and using the Naturalistic Language Acquisition framework to move from echolalia to self-generated language. Alexandria has a wealth of information to share about gestalt language (learning language in chunks or scripts), how we can teach language to gestalt learners, and how to determine if someone is a Gestalt Language Processor. 


Before the interview, Chris and Rachel share about a recent presentation at Closing the Gap, and their plans for a similar pre-conference session at ATIA on January 26th from 8 am to 4 pm. They discuss some of the plans they have to make the sessions fun and share some of what they have learned about putting together a meaningful presentation.


Key ideas this week: 


🔑 There are two ways that people learn language - Gestalt Language Processors, who learn in chunks or scripts, versus Analytical Language Processors who learn one word, then learn to put two together, and so on.


🔑 Some GLP communicate with single words, but they can’t combine words together to make longer sentences. Others use longer scripts to communicate that are taken from things like favorite media. Other GLP sound unintelligible for a few syllables then say clear word - the unilntellgible sounds and the word together make up the gestalt.


🔑 Understand what stage of echolalia the child is at: 

  1. Echolalia - full scripts. Can be delayed (scripts are used long after the initial stimulus).
  2. Mix and match - moving around partial scripts or taking parts of scripts.
  3. Magic stage - starts to understand that words are units - singling out words and understanding they can stand alone.
  4. Beginning grammar and novel original language.


Help them get as many gestalts as possible in Stage 1, then they can break them down in Stage 2 and get the to Stage 3 where they can single the words out. 


Find out more about Alexandria’s work at or on Instagram @meaningfulspeech


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