Date of Award


Degree Type

Masters Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Speech and Hearing Sciences

Committee Chair

Dr. Amanda Mathews

Committee Chair School

Speech and Hearing Sciences

Committee Member 2

Mrs. Mary Schaub

Committee Member 2 School

Speech and Hearing Sciences

Committee Member 3

Dr. Amy LeBert

Committee Member 3 School

Speech and Hearing Sciences


The language development and usage of autistic individuals has become a controversial topic in many of the disciplines and professions providing support to these individuals. As a result, two theories of language processing have been proposed. Analytical language processing suggests that children process and develop language from its most simple form, a phoneme, to its most complex form, a word or phrase. However, the theory of gestalt language processing proposes that some children may instead extract larger, more complex language such as whole words and phrases first and break it down to the simpler language. Gestalt language processing is often mentioned when discussing the language system of autistic individuals as the research suggest that many neurodivergent individuals are primarily gestalt language processers. The theory itself has been well researched and the very idea of it has been around for over a decade, however it does not seem to be as well-known as analytical language processing. In this study, a digital survey was created to investigate the knowledge level, opinions, and teaching practices pertaining to gestalt language processing and associated principles of educators in accredited communication sciences and disorders programs. The data from the study suggests that many educators do not consider themselves familiar with this topic, and about half of them teach about this topic. However, despite their level of knowledge it seems that most educators are in agreement with the core principles and clinical implications of gestalt language processing.