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
On average 2 students in every class of 30 have a neurodevelopmental condition
called Developmental Language Disorder (DLD).
Friday, 15 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.
Parker, a 16 year-old thrill seeker and talented photographer diagnosed with DLD is
calling on Australian teachers to learn about DLD so they can support students with
this hidden but common condition to learn.
Parker was originally diagnosed with dyslexia in Grade 3 but due to continual
difficulties at school that weren’t totally explained by dyslexia he received a
diagnosis of DLD in early 2020.
“DLD feels like everything is going over my head all the time. When I talk, it feels a
bit like I’m about to stutter. Everything rushes to your mouth at once. I have to stop
the sentence and restart or move onto something else. My mates don’t really
notice, but I do,” he explains.
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.
Having a label has been life changing for Parker. It explains why he finds it difficult
to understand when a teacher gives him an instruction and why he struggles to
concentrate with his mind often going blank.
“It’s not that you’re not listening or paying attention. Knowing you have DLD means
you don’t beat yourself up over it.”
Parker wants people to know that having DLD doesn’t mean you are ‘lazy’ or
‘stupid’. Just like him, the 1 in 14 people with DLD are working incredibly hard to
keep up with what’s going on around them.
“People need to be patient and not get frustrated. It would be easier if more people
knew about DLD.”
Parker speaks adamantly about the importance of not being singled out. He doesn’t
want to be treated differently.
“It’s ok to have DLD. You can’t get rid of it. We need more awareness of DLD. More
people with DLD telling their story to let people know about it.”
What is DLD?
DLD causes difficulties with speaking and understanding for no known reason. There
are serious and long-term impacts, as it puts children at greater risk of failing at
school and struggling with mental health and future employment.
Developmental Language Disorder (DLD) refers to difficulties learning language and
affects approximately 7% of the population. This makes it 7 times more common
than autism and 46 times more common than childhood hearing impairment.
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.
People with DLD can be as different as you and I. However, it is important to know
that with the right supports, they can thrive!
One teacher can change a student’s life by spotting their challenges with language.
The DLD Project is asking teachers to keep an eye out, and whenever they see a
student struggling with learning, #ThinkLanguage #ThinkDLD.
About DLD Awareness Day
Developmental Language Disorder Awareness Day, now in its fifth year, is
celebrated annually around the world with more than 40 countries involved in 2020.
The DLD Project is also working to have landmarks around Australia light up in
purple and yellow, the official DLD Awareness Day colours with 20 landmarks
confirmed across the country.
What is The DLD Project?
The DLD Project is a social enterprise founded in Australia with the vision to create a
world where people with DLD are recognised, understood, and empowered to live
their best life.
FOR MORE INFORMATION
If you’d like more information, please send The DLD Project an email at email@example.com or
call Nat Turner, Co-Founder of The DLD Project on 0405 134 077.
Parker, will be climbing the story bridge on Thursday 14 October (DLD Awareness Day eve) to raise awareness of DLD and the media is invited to join in.
All of The DLD Projects resources are available via the following platforms:
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