3 October 2022

The RCSLT is joining with other organisations and people with developmental language disorder (DLD) to co-produce a UK-wide vision for DLD.

The term ‘developmental language disorder’ and its diagnostic criteria were agreed in 2016. Although devised largely by researchers, clinicians – and, more recently, families and people with DLD – have started to rally behind the term.

RCSLT, I CAN, Afasic and the National Association of Professionals concerned with Language Impairment in Children (NAPLIC) are four organisations doing great work to raise awareness of DLD, but we jointly identified that, to have maximum impact, our work needs involve the DLD community – we needed a vision.

30-year vision for DLD

At three online workshops held between March and June this year, 30 adult and young people with DLD, and families of children with DLD, met to co-produce a 30-year vision for DLD. We wanted to centre the voice of the DLD community, so only five professionals attended (one each from the above organisations together with Professor Courtenay Norbury from University College London), largely to take notes and facilitate small groups. Attendees hailed from across the UK and from a range of cultures, so a wide range of views were represented.

For many attendees it was the first time they had been in a room where they did not need to explain DLD. It was the first time that most of the families of young children had met young people and adults with the condition. Just being together was empowering for many.

Teresa, a parent of a child with DLD, said, “It was so refreshing to be in the company of people who have DLD and to hear from them what they need. The many ideas discussed gave us a glimpse into the future of a world in which DLD is understood and support is in place from pre-school to adulthood.”

Joseff, a young person with DLD, also found the workshops beneficial: “It was very interactive. It also helped me understand a lot more about DLD. It also helped to see other people with DLD.”

The vision is now undergoing a final round of consultation with the DLD community before it is officially launched later this year – keep an eye on social media for details.

With thanks to Stephen Parsons, chair, NAPLIC.

Get involved

Friday 14 October is DLD Awareness Day – be sure to get involved with awareness raising by using #DLDday on social media.

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