Friday 18th October is Developmental Language Disorder (DLD) awareness day. This month, our speech and language therapists based in Mile End have been giving a range of workshops explaining more about this common but often unrecognised condition, which affects approximately 7% of people.
What is Developmental Language Disorder (DLD)?
DLD is a lifelong condition, which affects how children acquire language. DLD affects a person’s home language and English if they are different.
Children with DLD usually have difficulties with putting words together to make sentences, learning the grammatical rules of languages, learning and remembering words and understanding instructions and questions. This makes it harder for these children maintain friendships and make good academic progress without additional help.
Children do not get a diagnosis of DLD if they have Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), an intellectual disability or a physical difficulty that is stopping them from talking.
Will a child with DLD struggle at school?
Children with DLD require additional support from speech and language therapists and specially trained teachers. They struggle when ‘learning through listening’ and respond best to different ways of learning. Children with DLD are also likely to have long-term difficulties with reading and writing. A child with DLD may need an Education, Health and Care Plan so that they get long-term support. In Tower Hamlets, Globe and Cyril Jackson Primary School each offer a Language Resource Provision where children with DLD can receive specialist support.
Do we know the cause of DLD?
DLD presents differently in all children and we don’t really know the cause, although children with a family history of language difficulties or dyslexia are more likely to have DLD.
When can DLD be diagnosed?
Many toddlers who are late talking will catch up before they start school. It becomes much easier for speech and language therapists to give a diagnosis of DLD when a child’s language remains delayed at 5 years of age.
Will a child with DLD ‘grow out’ of it?
If children’s language difficulties continue beyond 5 years old, then they are likely to last throughout primary school and later life. With the right help, children can learn useful coping strategies. Given the right help, there is nothing to stop children with DLD from having successful and fulfilling adult lives.