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  • Writer's pictureTotal Communication

DLD – Why You Really Should Know This Acronym

Updated: Apr 7, 2022

Friday 18th October 2019 is DLD Awareness Day! But the question is: what is DLD?

Previously known as Specific Language Impairment (SLI), DLD is one of the least-known conditions affecting learning and communication across the world. The prevalence of ADHD, which most people have heard of, is around the 5% mark (DSM-V, 2013) and less than 2% of children are diagnosed with Autism (CDC, 2018). So why haven’t we heard of DLD which affects up to 7.6% of the population?

DLD – or Developmental Language Disorder – has been a hidden condition for years but is actually quite common. People with DLD have difficulties with their native language in understanding spoken and written information, expressing their thoughts and feelings clearly, and non-verbal communication. This has a huge knock-on effect on other areas such as literacy and even behaviour. It can affect people’s quality of life tremendously. Even more concerning, a disproportionate number of juvenile offenders have been shown to have unidentified language problems.

So, what can be done? Quite a lot actually! A speech and language therapist can complete a language assessment with children and adolescents to see what their language level is. This simply involves the child looking at some pictures and answering some questions. There may be some play involved for younger children. Then, following the therapist’s in-depth analysis, if there are apparent difficulties a therapy programme is created that helps to support the child in all aspects of their daily life.

Using evidence-based techniques, children usually see results quite quickly. Children and adolescents can be assessed for language difficulties up to age 21 but some adults may choose to get themselves assessed too.

“Despite affecting 7.6% of the population, Developmental Language Disorder (DLD) remains a hidden disability for the majority of people all around the world. DLD affects a person’s ability to understand and use their native language for no known reason. This has significant repercussions for a person’s academic outcomes, mental health and employment and is often further compounded by the lack of awareness surrounding DLD within the general public domain across the world.”

- The Raising Awareness of DLD (RADLD) International Committee.

Thank you for the information from who also have several freely available resources on their website.

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