Developmental Language Disorder

Developmental Language Disorder

What are these difficulties characterised by?

Developmental Language Disorder (DLD) , previously known as ‘Specific Language Impairment’ (SLI) is a difficulty in which the child is experiencing significant difficulties learning (understanding) and using language (expressive/spoken language). 

DLD affects approximately 2 children in every class of 30 but is often missed/not diagnosed, leading to longer-term effects on children’s learning and educational outcomes. 

DLD is present from childhood and the term is used when a child has language difficulties in the absence of any other medical diagnoses.

DLD can affect children across all areas of language and communication e.g. attention and listening, phonology (speech sounds), social interaction, expressive language (using and applying grammatical rules, using words in a logical order in sentences and formulating answers) and receptive language (understanding and processing information).

DLD is a lifelong condition and  individuals with DLD may access speech and language therapy services at different times during their life as appropriate.

How does this impact the child?

DLD affects individuals differently. Some of the main difficulties include:

  • Finding the words they want to say and structuring their sentences. This means they may sound as if they are getting muddled up when talking and might not use the right words, which can make them very difficult to understand. 
  • Understanding words used and instructions given, particularly more complex and higher level language.
  • Retaining spoken information. Auditory processing and auditory memory difficulties are associated with DLD meaning longer passages of spoken information are harder to remember and individuals find it hard to keep track of what has been said and can take a long time to process and respond.

This can significantly impact on an individuals ability to:

  • Learn and access the curriculum
  • Express their thoughts and ideas, for example to explain something give someone instructions, recall an event or tell a story
  • Follow and participate in a conversation
  • Understand and follow instructions to complete a task
  • Develop and maintain friendships

How can ChatterBug support your child?

Your therapist at ChatterBug will complete a comprehensive assessment to identify your child’s specific areas of difficulties.The child’s language needs will be assessed using a combination of observation, liaison with parents/carers and other professionals and formal and informal assessment, as deemed appropriate by the ChatterBug SLT.

Once the assessment is complete, your child’s therapist will put together an individualised treatment plan based on the results of the assessment.

We can offer direct 1:1 therapy  or group sessions with a Speech and Language Therapist (SLT) or Communication and Language Specialist (CALS), provide a therapy programme for school staff and parents to implement and/or advise and support school on staff with a range of strategies they can use to support their child on a daily basis.

At Chatterbug we incorporate a range of evidence based approaches to support the language development of children. We also provide training and modelling of interventions and approaches for parents/school staff. These include (but are not limited to):

    • Structured visual approaches to language teaching such as Colourful Semantics and Shape Coding during our direct therapy sessions with children in which school staff can also be trained on request.
    • Evidence based Narrative and Vocabulary programmes which we can train staff to deliver or deliver ourselves on an individual or group basis. 
    • Language For Thinking and Language for Behaviour and Emotions to develop their understanding of more abstract language, the language related to behaviour and emotions.
    • Comprehension monitoring to help a child recognise when they have not understood something and ask for help
    • Using appropriate visuals to support a child’s understanding of language

We also offer parent training and coaching in strategies we recommend to support an individual diagnosed with DLD, such as how to adapt your own language use and how to support the child to explain their ideas when they get muddled or stuck.

We can provide training for teachers on identifying and supporting children with DLD in the classroom allowing you to identify children with DLD in your school and awareness of strategies you can put in place to support these children

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