This is a good place to raise our (collective and respective) heads for a moment so that we can take a look around and get our bearings.
Up to “This Point”: What it Isn’t
Not delayed echolalia.
Not a gestalt.
If someone is challenged by an inability to form gestalts (and they are also engaging in repetition), then their partners should not be misled into believing that the person is actually successful with gestalts (or that they are evincing mythical “delayed echolalia”).
Even if the implemented therapy is associated with improvement by coincidence (and some good philosophies around honoring their expressions), all of the participants need to be told the truth to allow for informed support. You don’t get to lie “for their own good.”
That goes for whatever terms we use for someone’s skills, where inaccuracy hides the truth.
After “This Point”: What it Is
This leaves us with the following three issues to discuss:
1) Some among you argue that the therapy works (due to coincidental associations with changes), no matter how wrong you admit the foundations to be.⇲ Yes, there is value to some of the philosophical approaches associated with this misguided foundation; however, by grounding its bases more firmly in real cognitive functions, the therapy can be substantially improved.
2) Some among you are wrestling with an amorphous intuition that there is some sort of holism still involved in this kind of language (albeit not a gestalt); truly, that’s terrific progress. As this tutorial continues, it can help your intuition to increase its morphousness to the point where can feel more settled.
3) Then there’s some other stuff left to talk about, but it’s probably only suited to those folks who are interested in the details, so you’ll be given a chance to escape. (Believe it or not, none of this up until now has been details.⇲)
So let’s get to it without further delay. We’re going to talk about the valuable parts that are worth saving before we dive into the next big section.
Save the Baby (Cheerleader?)
I hear you asking, “Well, if the ~GLP thing is nothing more than murky bathwater, then is there a salvageable baby for whom we should go a-snorkeling (among the leaves so green)?⇲
To which I respond: please understand that I am only saying that we should throw out the unhealthy residual bathwater. We can easily do that while saving the squeaky clean baby (parse that as you will), all without resorting to an insistence upon idolizing the baby as a “Gestalt psychologist” based solely upon their indiscriminate treatment of “all parts within reach” as the unanalyzed mass to be known as “mouth-worthy.”
We do not have to aggrandize this language variation as “gestalt” anything (i.e., the putrid bathwater aspect) in order to fully value it as a person’s functional strategy (i.e., the adorable lil’ squeaker), like so…
Honor their Expression
We honor the person’s expressions as intentionally communicative, without regard to their unconventionally diverse lengths or meanings.
This intent is not only an effective aspect of any therapy that addresses this sort of language (as it reinforces the usefulness of functional exchanges), but it represents fundamentally equitable and inclusive behavior among all conversation participants.
In other words, we should be doing this anyway.
There isn’t a human language that ignores segmentation, because typically-developing humans segment their time-series significantly; however, if any language did do things this way (i.e., without as much, or maybe even any, segmentation), then there wouldn’t even be a question of dishonoring the communicative intent of its users… because that would simply be the way that their language worked.
If this behavior were harmful, though, rather than helpful, then our approach would tend to be much different; for example, consider when our duty of care extends to the likes of baby animals (including humans) who fail to segment their environment in a way that distinguishes food from non-food items.⇲ They are engaging with an unresolved mass (i.e., the “mouth-worthy” thing).
We don’t honor such events as nutritionally volitional because they are not functional for nourishment; to the contrary, they can result in injury and illness; however, we might honor such choices as recreationally volitional if the person were ingesting harmless non-food items for their entertainment value (e.g., lip balm, small pieces of paper, eggplant, small amounts of hair, diet soda, and so on).
In short: Save the part of the approach that honors the communicator’s expressions (at least when it does not risk injurious mayhem).
Scaffold Conventional Access
We also scaffold the development of conventional cognitive processing functions, as the person has a right to access the other kinds of expressions that are used by their partners. The person has the right to make informed choices regarding their language.⇲
Some therapies manage to do this despite their assumption of the gestalt thing, precisely because they are designed and implemented without requiring the person to have anything to do with actual gestalts (despite the insistence upon the “gestalt” label). So they work by coincidence. And that’s not great.
For example, if a doctor washed their hands before engaging in surgery, but only did so because they believed that physical contact with the local Water Spirits would grant them luck,⇲ then the act of washing would nonetheless be a valuable practice (except on alternate Tuesdays, of course, when the doctor wouldn’t bother because the Water Spirits would be off regenerating in the riparian source of their mystical powers).
Think of just how much the simple practice of hand washing was able to improve once people identified the actual underlying functions (e.g., alcohol-based hand rub, gloves, and so on).⇲
With that improvement in mind, and having finished with issue #1 (i.e., what to save), let’s move on to #2 (i.e., what’s really going on).