Speech Pathology driving terminology campaign for DLD

Speech Pathology launches campaign to raise awareness on Developmental Language Disorder (DLD). The campaign will introduce new terminology  it hopes will end confusion over the condition which is understood to affect, on average, two children in every classroom. DLD causes difficulties with speech, language understanding, communication and reading with an associated high risk of dyslexia.

The problem can endure into middle childhood and beyond and without diagnosis and specialist support can have a significant impact on everyday social interactions and schooling.  And raising awareness is crucial, according to Speech Pathology Australia director, Dr Marleen Westerveld.

“When a child has a difficulty with communication, it has a significant and lasting impact on every aspect of their development. DLD has in the past been referred to as specific language impairment, language disorder, developmental language impairment, developmental language disorder or some other name.” Westerveld said the new terminology will address any confusion that has, in the past, made it difficult for those affected to receive the help they need, as well as avoiding misdiagnosing children as inattentive or showing more general learning or behaviour problems.

Research indicates that teenagers with DLD are twice as likely to report symptoms of depression and that 40 per cent of those with DLD have, by age 16, difficulties interacting with their peers, with half experiencing bullying during their childhood.

DLD will become the accepted term for language difficulties when the language disorder has no other differentiating or influencing condition, such as the absence of autism, Down syndrome or Fragile X.

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