What Exactly Is DLD?


DLD is a communication difficulty that affects an estimated 3 per cent of children at school starting age, that’s one or two in every classroom.

People have often heard about other forms of language difficulties like Dyslexia or difficulties related to Autism, but not ever heard of DLD. Affected children are functioning in the expected way in all areas of development apart from talking and understanding language.

The ability to communicate is an essential element of being able to live a successful life. The outcomes set for children with DLD can only be achieved by first addressing their foundation outcome ie the need to be able to express themselves and to be understood.

Severity and symptoms can vary, but problems can include difficulty talking in well constructed sentences, trouble retrieving a word when needed and difficulties understanding complex words and long instructions.

A child is said to have DLD if they have these kinds of issues in the absence of another particular cause such as autistic disorder, hearing difficulties or general learning difficulties. These impairments often go undetected by others as there is usually no obvious outward sign of difficulty. Typically, pupils with DLD can be very quiet in the classroom, unable to engage in class discussions, and risk being overlooked and excluded.

Others may develop disruptive behaviours due to frustration and low self esteem associated with their experience of continually failing with their school work. It is therefore key to have well equipped teachers and early years staff, possessing a competent blend of knowledge and skills with which to support the often complex needs of a child with DLD.

If you would like more information on DLD or would like to discuss any concerns you may have about your child, please get in touch.

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