What is a Developmental Language Disorder (DLD) and What Therapy is available for it?

What is DLD?

  • The diagnosis ‘Developmental Language Disorder‘ refers to a profile of difficulties, associated with a poor prognosis, that cause a functional impairment in everyday life. It is used when the  language disorder is not associated with a known biomedical condition such as Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), Acquired Brain Injury (ABI), Acquired Epileptic Aphasia in childhood, and certain Neurogenerative Conditions such as Down’s Syndrome, Cerebral Palsy, and oral language difficulties associated with sensorineural hearing loss. Areas of difficulty can include:
  • Syntax
  • Morphology
  • Semantics
  • Word Finding
  • Pragmatics
  • Discourse
  • Verbal Learning and Memory As part of the theraputic process, in a child with DLD.

What therapy is available?

As part of the theraputic process, we ask:

  1. What does the child need to know about language
  2. How can we facilitate this?

There are many different approaches which can be taken depending on the specific needs of the child. Here are just some of the ways attending Speech and Language Therapy can support language development in a child with DLD.

  • Verbal comprehension: gesture and visual cues may aid comprehension. We start with what the child already knows, before increasing the complexity
  • Expressive communication: building vocabulary and understanding of language through fun games and explicit teaching, and encouraging non-verbal communication such as gesture and facial expression.
  • Parent training and exercises to be completed at home
  • Strategies to support the child in the classroom

There are a number of Language Units that are attached to Mainstream Primary Schools.  These units are few and far between but we have been able to help parents secure a place for their child within these units as the starting process of their time in education. These units have a ratio of generally 2:5 with a full time Speech and Language Therapist part of the team.  They are an invaluable start for any child who may have a diagnosis of DLD and we would love to see more of these classes being provided.

Please see below some further information that has been published by Department of Education on Language Disorders