Raising Awareness for Developmental Language Disorder

Imagine sitting in a classroom unable to understand what is being said, but being expected to achieve the same as your classmates. For every class of 30, on average two of those children are faced with this reality every day. With limited awareness of Developmental Language Disorder (DLD) amongst educators and the general public, these kids can be easily overlooked, and the lifelong impact can be devastating.

Today is DLD Day, an important time to raise awareness for this common and often invisible condition. Sarah, Speech Pathologist at Sydney Children's Hospital, Randwick, works with kids like siblings Max and Chloe who have been diagnosed with DLD. She says “DLD is so common that it is extremely important we raise awareness, early intervention is key for positive outcomes for children with the condition.”

“Thanks to Sarah’s support and guidance both Max and Chloe have seen significant improvements, particularly with being able to express themselves. Sarah communicates with the kids’ teachers and we all work together to support them,” Lara, Max and Chloe's mum.

Max started sessions with Sarah at 2 years old, and Lara says she can see firsthand the difference early intervention makes. This has been a great outcome for Lara’s family, as most often kids affected are mistaken as being inattentive, having more general learning difficulties or poor behaviour.

“Many of the families we work with feel no one really understands their child’s difficulties. By increasing awareness and recognition of DLD, the goal is to ensure any child affected is able to access speech pathology and the support they need,” Sarah, Speech Pathologist.

This year the world is lighting up purple and yellow to highlight this condition with landmarks across Australia, Canada, UK and US shining bright.


Developmental Language Disorder (DLD) refers to difficulties learning language and can impact speaking, understanding and reading. The condition affects approximately seven per cent of the population making it seven times more common than autism and 46 times more common than childhood hearing impairment. The complexity of DLD means that it can have a serious and long-term impact on development. People with DLD are six times more likely to suffer from anxiety and three times more likely to have clinical depression. They are also at significant risk of struggling with reading, spelling and mathematics. Although DLD is a common condition affecting many areas of life, children with DLD are unlikely to receive access to services, particularly for girls. DLD has also been the focus of significantly less research than other conditions.

Here are some videos on “DLD - see me”:

 To see how DLD impacts everyday lives, follow #DLDSeeMe or @RADLDCam on social media.

 For more information: