DLD Awareness Day

Speech and Language Development Australia

The Victoria Bridge will light up purple and yellow on the 18th of October to celebrate Developmental Language Disorder Awareness Day (DLD). This is a worldwide initiative across Australia, Canada, UK and US as many bridges as possible are lighting up to shine the light on this hidden disability that affects 1 in 14 children in Australia’s classrooms.

“Maddie is in many ways a typical nine-year-old. She loves singing and dancing and riding her bike, playing in the park and camping, but she has always had one fundamental challenge. She struggles with her speaking and understanding what others say. We found Glenleighden and now she is thriving which shows what can be achieved with the right support,” said Andrew, Glenleighden parent.

Speech and Language Development Australia (SALDA) specialize in supporting children and young people with speech, language and communication needs.


Developmental Language Disorder[i] (DLD) refers to difficulties learning language and affects approximately 7% of the population[ii]. DLD causes difficulties with speaking, understanding and reading – with high risk of dyslexia. The complexity of DLD means that it can have a serious and long-term impact on development.

According to The Manchester Language Study[iii], 40% of those with DLD say that by age 16 they had difficulties interacting with their peers. Half experienced bullying during their childhood. Separate research found teenagers with DLD were more than twice as likely to report symptoms of depression compared to their typically developing peers[iv]. Without diagnosis and specialist support, the impacts of DLD can last into adulthood by increasing the risk of unemployment and reducing the opportunity to be independent[v].

Dorothy Bishop, Professor of Developmental Neuropsychology, University of Oxford: “We have been working to raise awareness of a hidden condition that affects around 7 per cent of children – two in every classroom. When a child has difficulty with communication, it has significant and lasting impact on every aspect of their development. This is why it is so important we raise awareness of DLD to remove the barriers preventing those affected from receiving the help they need. Our hope is that we will make it easier for those affected to be diagnosed and receive the specialist support that can make such a difference.”

Even though we’ve known about this problem for nearly 200 years, research into Developmental Language Disorder has found poor awareness of the condition relative to the frequency and severity of DLD[vi]. Most commonly, those affected are mistaken as being inattentive, having more general learning difficulties or poor behaviour. By increasing awareness and recognition of DLD, RADLD’s goal is to ensure any child affected is able to access specialist speech and language therapy and support they need.

/Public Release.