I've talked about gestalt cognitive processors in a previous post, but here is another real-life therapy example of gestalt thinking and patterns. This child has special interest in the alphabet and numbers, so I try to incorporate that into our gestalt language therapy (following his lead and playing the way he wants to play!) .
He LOVED the Alphabet Acorns, which are acorns that say a letter and have an item inside that starts with that same letter, and then the top of the acorn also has the lowercase letter. He opened all the acorns, while I modelled some gestalts, "open it up!", "take it out", "we did it."
He started lining them up - nothing new here. But then I looked closer and he's LINING THEM UP IN ORDER of the alphabet - Apple, Boat, Car, Dinosaur, Elephant, etc. Keep in mind this is the FIRST time I've brought this toy, and he figured out what goes next SO FAST! Personally, once I get to about H in the alphabet I have to start from the beginning each time, but he was just placing them all into their spots without a second thought! He also had them spaced perfectly.
It was amazing! Many Autistic individuals have gifts when it comes to seeing patterns, organization, etc.
The gestalt part came in when I realized I was missing the 'k' toy. This whole alphabet is a gestalt (a set) to him, and is incomplete without the 'k.' However, he showed his flexibility in new situations when I explained it was missing, and we put the letter 'k' above where it should go.
Do your clients/children have a special knack for patterns? How easy is it for us to miss these kinds of gifts if we aren't looking?!
I encourage you to dig deeper into your client's gifts and strengths in each session.
by Halle Demchuk, SLP
Paediatric SLP | GLP-Trained Clinician | Owner of HAEPI SLP
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