Children with a Developmental Language Disorder (DLD) may have difficulties using expressive language (e.g. talking, or writing messages) or with receptive language (understanding what is said or written), or both.
A child with difficulties using language may:
- use non-specific words, which makes it hard to know what they’re talking about
- speak in short sentences
- find it difficult to sequence their thoughts, ideas or stories
- have difficulty changing their language to suit different social interactions
- have difficulty asking questions
- have difficulties knowing how words are related
A child with difficulties understanding language may:
- have difficulty following instructions
- have difficulties maintaining attention during story-time
- provide irrelevant or strange answers when asked questions
- have difficulty taking turns in a conversation
Children with DLD may have difficulty with any of the following specific areas of language: the sounds of language (phonology), understanding and using the smallest units of meaning (morphology), sentence structure (syntax), meaning (semantics), and understanding how context impacts on meaning (pragmatics).
Children with DLD are at risk of having difficulty learning to read and write. This is an important reason why early identification and evidence-based support is recommended.