What is a developmental language disorder?
A developmental language disorder (DLD) is a diagnosis given to a person who has difficulty talking and/or understanding language.
It has been known in the past as expressive-receptive language disorder, specific language impairment, or speech-language impairment. DLD is now the term used for these language problems.
DLD can be a ‘hidden’ difficulty. Sometimes it’s mistaken for a problem with behaviour or attention. It’s a lifelong condition that can have a big impact on friendships, learning at school and finding a job.
Approximately 1 in 14 children have DLD (QLD Health, 2022).
The language difficulties these children experiences are not explained by other conditions, such as hearing loss or autism, or by extenuating circumstances, such as lack of exposure to language. DLD can affect a child’s speaking, listening, reading, and writing (NIH, 2021).
Children with poor language skills may have:
Language impairments that create reading difficulties. This can lead to impacts at school and can increase associated behavioral difficulties (Durkin et al., 2011; Schoon et al., 2010).
Ongoing communication problems in adulthood (Bashir & Scavuzzo, 1992).
Lasting impacts that may affect future employment prospects (Beitchman et al., 1994).
In year 1 children can typically understand:
Follow 2-3 step instructions in a sequence
Understand more basic concepts such as same & different (size & function); quantity (few, most, pair) and time
Use accurate grammar accurately
Understand all basic wh- questions such as what, why, when, where
Use higher level language such as jokes, tease, sarcasm, argument, explanations, predictions
In year 1, children can say...
Say approximately 2600 words
Answer more complex yes/no questions
Use complete sentences to express themselves
Ask and answer all basic wh- questions
Use most parts of speech and grammar accurately
Sort objects into categories
Use regular and irregular past tense verbs
Use conjunctions such as "because, then, before, if…"
Initiate conversation, sustain topic and take turns
Speak to Access 2 Speech Pathology for guidance and what to do to improve your child's language ability ~ firstname.lastname@example.org or phone 0400836254 for an appointment.
Developmental Language Disorder, NIH, (2022), https://www.nidcd.nih.gov/health/developmental-language-disorder#What-is-DLD
Queensland Children's Hospital, Fact Sheet, 2021, https://www.childrens.health.qld.gov.au/fact-sheet-developmental-language-disorder/Health
Raising Children Network (2022). Language Delay, retrieved from Language delay in children | Raising Children Network
Speech Pathology Australia (2016). Communication Milestones, retrieved from Communication Milestones (speechpathologyaustralia.org.au)