Therapy session structure, narrative language, and commentary on gestalt language processing

In this episode, I share a special Q & A session I did with the members of Language Therapy Advance Foundations; my program that provides service providers with a research-based framework for language therapy.

I get a lot of questions about how to make the transition between preschool to school-age, what language therapy activities are appropriate for younger children, and when to start direct intervention on linguistic skills like syntax.

While there is not a scripted protocol or curriculum that gives us all the answers, there’s a wide body of research that shows how an effective intervention framework can work. 

Should we focus on the “big picture” structure of language, like narrative structure, or should we focus on the pieces? 

Will kids get the “big picture” if they can’t put the other components together (at the word and sentence level)? Or will developing the structure give them a process that will help them develop those other components. 

In reality, it’s a little of both. 

Should we think from a developmental perspective; making sure that kids are developmentally ready to learn certain skills before introducing them? Or should we think from more of a behavioral, or cognitive/linguistic perspective, and operate from the assumption that teaching will facilitate skills?

Again, it’s a little of both.

In this episode, I clarified some of that nuance, as well as how I’ve considered these things in the framework I teach. 

✅How to structure your therapy session; including how to set expectations, how to think about modeling and scaffolding, and where "drill" activities come in to play

✅Where does narrative language intervention apply to language therapy? 

✅Are some students too young for direct work on vocabulary and syntax? 

✅How do we make the transition from preschool to school-age language therapy?

✅Describing a pattern vs. diagnosing: How does gestalt language processing fit in to a language therapy framework?

The following resources were mentioned in this episode:

De Facto Leaders EP 64: Are kids ready to work on complex sentences in elementary school? (Link here:

Spencer & Douglas (2020). Narrative Intervention: Principles to Practice (Link here:

The Informed SLP: Let’s give them something to gestalt about (Link here:

In this episode, I mention Language Therapy Advance Foundations, my program that helps SLPs create a system for language therapy. You can learn more about Language Therapy Advance Foundations here:

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Therapy session structure, narrative language, and commentary on gestalt language processing