Speech & Language Development Australia

Research Institute

Developmental Language Disorder: the disorder that spans disability, health and education.

Joint SALDARI – Deeble Institute Evidence Brief highlights the impact and challenges associated with Developmental Language Disorder.

1 in 14 children have a hidden disability called Developmental Language Disorder. That’s around 1.7million people in Australia alone.

Children and young people with Developmental Language Disorder are as able and healthy as other children. With one primary exception: they have difficulty thinking about, understanding and using language. They are often as intelligent as any other child their age, but they still have difficulties learning language.

"Up to 45% of young people referred for mental health services have communication difficulties"

A child with Developmental Language Disorder will not develop speech and language skills in the typical way and more often than not, there is no obvious reason for this difficulty. This means a child with Developmental Language Disorder can be creative and eager to learn, but struggle to understand the language used in the classroom. They may have lots of ideas, but find it hard to put sentences together to communicate what they are thinking.

"Two children in the average Australian classroom have Developmental Language Disorder"

Developmental Language Disorder looks different in everyone and can be difficult to understand, because the exact cause is unknown. We do know the speech and language part of the brain develops different to others and Developmental Language Disorder can run in families.

"More than 50% of youth offenders are believed to have undiagnosed language difficulties"

Our commitment is to find out all we can to unlock the complexities of Developmental Language Disorder so we can do more to help those affected.

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