May 11, 2024


9:15 am

10:45 am

A Critical Appraisal of the Natural Language Acquisition Protocol

Recently, use of the Natural Language Acquisition (NLA) Protocol to guide language intervention for autistic individuals has increased in popularity. This protocol has been purported to be effective for learners who are said to be “gestalt language processors”, with the latter term being used to refer to children who learn to produce memorized strings of words (e.g., “to infinity and beyond”) before they learn to break language down to the unit of the single word. This presentation will discuss the evidence behind Natural Language Acquisition as a theory of language development and the evidence behind the use of the supportive strategies based on this theory. The presentation will also examine the scientific plausibility of some of the claims that underlie the NLA protocol. A brief overview of empirically supported practices will occur, focusing on practices that can be used to address some of the client needs for which the NLA protocol is sometimes considered.