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NAPLIC conference 2023 summary

I am writing this over a month after our 2023 conference, partly because my head is still spinning. So many ideas and connections. The conference gave professionals, families and people with Developmental Language Disorder (DLD) the opportunity to learn from one another. It was a real highlight, and one that left delegates feeling extra-energised.

The day started with our DLD activists Shelbi Annison, Sophie Franks and Damian Quinn who shared their lived experiences, and in doing so, moved many (OK, most if not all) of the audience to tears. Hearing about the hurdles they have all needed to overcome and continue to overcome and then the actions they take to raise awareness is humbling.

Dr Val Brooks was the next speaker and she addressed language and trauma, bringing a total wealth of knowledge to this important and timely topic. The centrality of the early childhood experience to all of life was a key take home message. Every word of Val’s presentation carried such wisdom that it is one that I’ll need to watch again on the recording.

Genetics and DLD is an area that is very new to many of us, and potentially a bit daunting, but in her talk Dr Dianne Newbury was able to convey complex information incredibly clearly. A key message, and one we need to get to a wider audience, is that DLD has a genetic basis, but it is not down to any one gene, and more likely to be a number of genes.

SENCO Katie Little packed a mass into her presentation, giving a fantastic overview of how she has developed a whole school approach for Developmental Language Disorder. Katie has taken a methodical step by step approach to setting up systems in one school and then moving to another school to start again. Katie is an inspiration.

Our final speaker was Dr Lisa Archibald who provided a real overview of working memory and how it relates to DLD. Lisa stressed that general memory training was unlikely to be effective, but teaching strategies and developing language skills were the best way to improve working memory skills. A clear take home message.

Thank you to all who attended. We hope to see you next year. Keep an eye on the website and social media or join NAPLIC to find out more about next year’s conference.

Stephen Parsons
Chair, NAPLIC

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