Have you ever wondered why your child is different from their peers in the way he uses language to communicate? Are you concerned about a delay in his/her language skills when compared to that of his age group?
If you think your child is smart in all aspects except the use of or with understanding language, don’t mistake it with stalling.
Your child might actually be struggling with a condition called Developmental Language Disorder (DLD) that requires professional help.
Here are some facts you need to know about DLD :
What is DLD?
DLD stands for Developmental Language Disorder, which is a condition quite common in the developmental age groups. Children with DLD could have issues in understanding spoken language, or formulating the correct sequence of words/ phrases to express themselves. This can be quite frustrating to the child and the family and can have detrimental effects on the child’s social interaction and even academic performance.
DLD is not language-specific.
How does DLD Occurs?
The major challenge with DLD is that its exact cause is unknown. It is neither caused by any emotional difficulties nor by limited language exposure. However, this condition can be seen as coexisting with a language disorder.
Major signs to look for.
- They might experience difficulty with verbal expression.
- Their language may sound immature for their age.
- They may have issues with finding exact words to formulate a sentence. They could also have a restricted vocabulary.
- They may have issues with understanding spoken language.
- Older children may have difficulties reading and using written language
What should be the next step if you suspect DLD?
First and foremost, take professional help to confirm the condition. Speech-Language Pathologists (SLP) or Speech Therapists are professionals who are trained to treat such conditions therapeutically.
Here are some tips you can follow to support your child at home:
- Make sure you have your child’s attention before you speak to them. You can practice calling their name first followed by the instruction. eg. “Ahmed (then give your instruction/ comment)
- Get down to your child’s eye level to make sure they have their eyes on you to support what they are listening to.
- Always remember to use simple phrases/ sentences with your child and present them in a playful tone to grab their attention.
- Ensure that you are providing ample opportunities for your child to express his/her needs.
- Remember to be a patient listener. Bombarding words/ sentences without waiting for your child’s response will do no good.
- Encourage your child to communicate with you however they can, accept gestures, pointing, facial expressions.
Remember, communication is more than just talking!
Please note: These are just tips, sticking to them alone would not be enough and should not be considered as a treatment plan for DLD. Always remember to seek professional help.