Language and literacy skills · Raising awareness

DLD Awareness Day 2018


Raising Awareness of DLD

Developmental language disorder (DLD) is the name agreed between international experts in 2016. (Read more about that here). Last year saw the first DLD awareness day. This year, you may have noticed #DLDABC rather than #DLD123 in social media.

A – assess your own understanding. If you haven’t already seen the questions on social media, you can take the quiz here.

B – build knowledge. There’s a collection of videos, media reports and open access journal articles to help you do just that.

C – create awareness. Share all of the above with school and family members! There’s a toolkit here to support exactly that, today and every day.

I’ve said this before, but teachers will, for the most part have some idea of the terminology relating to ADHD, autism, dyslexia, DCD/dyspraxia, dyscalculia and dysgraphia. They will probably have taught pupils with learning differences and they may have attended courses or received training on relevant support techniques. Teachers, particularly those with early years experience, are usually aware of speech, language and communication needs (SLCN) as a general concept, and they should be aware of sound production difficulties, or stammering.

Despite all of this and even though DLD is likely to affect 2 children in any mixed ability class of 30, it remains little known. Over the past decade, Professors Dorothy Bishop and Maggie Snowling have conducted significant research confirming the links between language and literacy development and the heritability of learning differences. I have heard Professor Snowling speak a couple of times now, and I’d like to share these nuggets with anyone who hasn’t heard these statements already:

Oral language skills are the foundation for the development of literacy skills and more broadly for the whole of education

Interventions to improve oral language skills can be highly effective

For a genetic perspective on language and literacy, check out the work of Professor Simon Fisher.

DLD affects a person’s ability to use or understand spoken language. Like other learning differences, it’s lifelong, but, with support, it is possible to overcome many of the challenges that can be posed in a learning or work environment. As is the case with other neurodivergent conditions, DLD can co-occur or present in isolation. Unsupported, DLD can have a significant impact on academic success, but it is not in any way indicative of low intelligence and it can occur across intellectual abilities.

Follow the links for more information, and don’t forget to share using #DLDABC today and #devlangdis throughout the year.

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