Raising Awareness of Developmental Language Disorder

Research shows that many children with trouble learning at school or communicating with others have an undiagnosed condition called DLD.

Imagine making a new friend, learning a new subject, or negotiating yourself out of a tough spot if your ability to use or understand language were a life-long challenge. On average 2 students in every class of 30 have a neurodevelopmental condition called Developmental Language Disorder or DLD.

Friday 15 of October 2021 is DLD Awareness Day and this year’s campaign is asking teachers to #ThinkLanguage #ThinkDLD. The goal is to increase the early identification of DLD and support for students at school.  People with DLD are 6 times more likely to suffer from anxiety and 3 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. Please click here for more information.

Shelbi, young adult with DLD: “It wasn’t just a “delay” for me and I never “outgrew” or “caught up”. Just like many people; my DLD was never identified nor was my difficulties were further investigated. DLD is a life condition; early identification and support is key to supporting those with DLD to manage everyday life.”

Spoken language is the lifeblood of the classroom. It underpins all learning, relationships and mental health, from the very beginning to the very end of school. Most students thrive in this rich learning environment, but for some, listening and talking can be overwhelming.

Jessica, a 12-year-old student with DLD: “I would like my teachers to know that I may lose focus more easily than others and some tasks may take longer. If I’m ever picked on to speak up in class, I have trouble finding words from my head, so I may stutter a lot or just keep quiet.”

Raising Awareness of Developmental Language Disorder (RADLD) is an international organization working to grow awareness of DLD, a hidden but common condition. One teacher can change a student’s life by spotting their challenges with language. RADLD is asking teachers to keep an eye out, and whenever they see a student struggling with learning, #ThinkLanguage #ThinkDLD. 

Sam, teacher: “If teachers are repeatedly saying things like ‘they just don’t listen’, then perhaps children need a language assessment. I would like teachers to realise that there is a high probability that somebody in their class has DLD and that these students are working REALLY hard to understand everything.”

Students with DLD can succeed at school when they are identified and access the right support. But first they need our help. Teachers can download a FREE Teacher’s Kit in celebration of DLD Awareness Day at RADLD.ORG.

For media enquiries:

Shaun Ziegenfusz | hello@radld.org.au 

A new community choir, The WholeNotes, started in January 2018 for those with social anxiety, a learning disability and autism. This is a day time choir that anyone from the age of 18+ can attend with their carer or independently if they are able to. It is a not for profit organisation set up and run by Alison Wrigley to enable more people in Surrey who may be socially isolated to come along and make friends, develop interpersonal skills and feel a sense of achievement and joy in singing. Please contact Alison for more information at wholenoteschoir@gmail.com.

In the last 18 months, Wholenotes have performed and taken part in many events, including:

  • February 2018 – Had a recording of the choir singing played on BBC Surrey Radio
  • June 2018 – Singing workshop for facilitators of choirs, volunteers and members of choirs for those with a learning disability – led by Alex Hague (ex- member of APOLLO 5) attended by the Mayor of Guildford
  • July 2018 – Singing as part of NHS 70 choir day in GLive in Guildford 

Alison Wrigley BEM – Musical Director and Founder of Wholenotes Choir


Registered charity in England & Wales (210031) and Scotland (SC039947)

I CAN are experts in speech, language and communication needs (SLCN). This is the most common childhood condition people have never heard of: 1.4million children and young people in the UK have a language disorder they will not grow out of.  Meanwhile, as many as 50% of children in some areas of deprivation start school without the language they need for learning.  The implications are enormous, with SLCN negatively impacting on their socio-emotional development, educational attainment, their mental health, and life chances.  But it doesn’t have to be this way.  Timely assessment and targeted action by all involved, including the child, can ensure children progress with their communication skills.

Imagine being a child who cannot tell their parents when they are hungry, scared, in pain or simply want a hug or to play; or a young person grappling with the challenges of growing up and yet cannot express their fears and hopes. Both struggle to understand when others talk to them.

“81% of children with emotional and behavioural disorders have significant language deficits, often unidentified”.

Hollo A, Wehby J.H, Oliver R.M. (2014) Unidentified Language Deficits in Children with Emotional and Behavioral Disorders: A Meta-Analysis. Exceptional Children 80(2): 169-186

I CAN solely helps children and young people with SLCN aged 0 to 19 find their voice. We do so via our advice line for parents and practitioners; evidence-based programmes for educational settings; by running two specialist schools, and by raising awareness of the issue, so it is better understood and addressed.

For further information and to support their work, please visit  www.ican.org.uk