DLD – Developmental Language Disorder

Developmental Language Disorder is also known as a ‘hidden disability’ affecting 1 in 14 children.

DLD – Developmental Language Disorder is diagnosed when children fail to acquire their own language for no obvious reason. This results in children who have difficulty understanding what people say to them, and struggle to articulate their ideas and feelings.

Children with Developmental Language Disorder are as able and healthy as other children. With one exception, they have great difficulty thinking about, understanding and using language. They are often as intelligent as other children their age, but still have difficulties with language. There may be no outward signs of disability and no obvious physical indicators of a problem. For this reason, Developmental Language Disorder is also known as a ‘hidden disability’ affecting 1 in 14 children.

Although DLD primarily affects language, children and young people with the condition may also have social and emotional difficulties. Research tells us that individuals without a diagnosis and appropriate support, may experience poor mental health and employment outcomes.

Developmental Language Disorder is a significant and lifelong disability. Children with DLD won’t grow out of it. However, with access to early and quality intervention, children and young people with DLD can succeed: academically, socially and professionally, and can live rich and fulfilling lives.


Video – What is DLD?


Podcast – Exploring DLD


Additional Resources

RADLD – Raising Awareness of Developmental Language Disorder

Additional Resources – Research

CATALISE: A Multinational and Multidisciplinary Delphi Consensus Study. Identifying Language Impairments in Children | PLOS ONE

Phase 2 of CATALISE: a multinational and multidisciplinary Delphi consensus study of problems with language development: Terminology – Bishop – 2017 – Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry – Wiley Online Library

Language Outcomes at 7 Years: Early Predictors and Co-Occurring Difficulties | Pediatrics | American Academy of Pediatrics (aap.org)

More or less likely to offend? Young adults with a history of identified developmental language disorders – PMC (nih.gov)

How We Fail Children With Developmental Language Disorder | Language, Speech, and Hearing Services in Schools (asha.org)

Understanding Dyslexia in the Context of Developmental Language Disorders | Language, Speech, and Hearing Services in Schools (asha.org)

The prevalence of and potential risk factors for Developmental Language Disorder at 10 years in the Raine Study – Wiley Online Library

Developmental Language Disorder and the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS)

The theme of last year's DLD Awareness Day, led by RADLD, is Growing with DLD.


Our Support Networks

Therapy support for children and young people with Language Disorder and other developmental and learning needs.

A full educational experience for children and young people with Language Disorder – from Prep to Year 12.

Enhancing outcomes for students with Language Disorder through consultation, capacity building through intensive support and professional learning for school staff.

Stay up to date

Sign up to the Language Disorder Australia newsletter to receive the latest news and professional resources straight to your inbox.

Support Developmental Language Disorder Day

on #DLDday, Friday October 14th, 2022

14 October is Developmental Language Disorder (DLD) Awareness Day.
The 2022 DLDday theme is Growing with DLD, highlighting that DLD is a lifelong, permanent disability.