DLD is a lifelong communication disorder, which affects the language development of children and young people.
In the early years of primary education, it can be easy to spot, as children with DLD will find it difficult to follow instructions and create spoken sentences. They often have difficulties with literacy, learning and friendships. However, by secondary school most young people with DLD have developed their language to a conversational level, so it’s not immediately obvious.
At Oasis Academy Lister Park we have a special unit (DSP) to support students with Developmental Language Disorder. The students have additional sessions outside of lessons which consist of additional English and Maths, Social Communication and Speech and Language Therapy. But for most of their time in school, they are in mainstream classrooms. This inclusive approach is better for them to develop into well rounded adults.
The students in the DSP all have a diagnosis of DLD and attend the provision as they present with a severe form of it. Statistically we know that there will be many more students in school who also have DLD.
Here are some signs a young person may be presenting with DLD:
- Has poor listening skills
- Avoids putting hand up/answering questions in class
- Doesn’t follow instructions
- Doesn’t ask for help when they’re stuck
- Answers verbal or written questions in short sentences
- Difficulty with abstract concepts and ideas, but may learn facts well
- Uses simple vocabulary and struggles to learn the “academic” words
- Has problems with friendships
- Seems anxious or worried
- Has behavioural difficulties
- Has worsening mental health
Sound familiar? DLD affects around two students in every classroom, yet it’s not well known. It’s actually more common than autism!
If you are concerned about a student, there is help available! You can speak to Simon McDonagh, the school’s SENCo, to arrange a Speech and Language Therapy assessment which will help to identify the problems and give some ideas about how we can help them in school.
There are some great resources available from these websites:
Or just ask the staff in the DSP in school.