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DLD awareness day 15th October 2021 -FREE Breakfast Briefing for schools and early years settings

It is one of the most common learning disabilities, affecting approximately two children in every average primary class*, yet you are more than likely to have never heard of it.

So what is DLD?

DLD stands for Developmental Language Disorder. It is a significant and persistent difficulty with learning, understanding, and using spoken language. DLD emerges in early childhood and persists into adulthood.

Primary school aged children with DLD may present with the following:

  • Difficulty saying what they want to, even though they have ideas
  • Struggle to find the words they want to use
  • Talk in sentences but be difficult to understand
  • Sound muddled; it can be difficult to follow what they are saying
  • Find it difficult to understand words and long instructions
  • Have difficulty remembering the words they want to say
  • Find it hard to join in and follow what is going on in the classroom or on the playground
  • Difficulty telling stories or saying what they did during the day or at break time
  • Language difficulties may also be wrongly interpreted as behavioural issues such as anxiety or misbehaving in class

Children with DLD will not just ‘pick up’ language; they will need to be taught language skills.

If you think a child may have DLD, a referral can be made to Speech and Language Therapy services. Support from teachers and therapists makes a real difference.

You can support a child that may have DLD in your classroom by:

  • Gaining the child’s attention by saying their name before you ask questions/give instructions, so they know that they need to listen
  • Using gestures, visuals or actions to help them understand and remember information
  • Using simple sentences/short instructions to help them understand and remember it
  • Checking they have understood instructions or new information
  • Giving them more time to think, find their words and express themselves
  • Supporting their confidence in speaking by praising their effort and acknowledging what they have said
  • Encouraging them to communicate with you using gestures, pointing, facial expressions and visuals to support their spoken language

This year, DLD awareness day is on 15th October. Join us in raising awareness of this condition in your school and supporting children with DLD to make good progress in school and for their futures.

See how important it is to be aware of DLD in your school by using this link to find out many children there may be in your school struggling with this condition -

The SLCN Team from North Yorkshire SEND Hubs are running a free breakfast briefing (8:10 – 8:40 on 15.10.21) for all staff working in schools and early years settings to find out more about DLD and the support we offer. To book please click here 

*Norbury, C.F., Gooch, D., Wray, C., Baird, G., Charman, T., Simonoff, E., Vamyakas, G. and Pickles, A. (2016) ‘The impact of nonverbal ability on prevalence and clinical presentation of language disorder: Evidence from a population study’, Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry 57(11):1247–57. Available at:

Written by Zoe Green (Speech and Language Therapy Assistant – SEND Hubs)