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We are making progress with DLD

It sometimes feel that we have an impossible hill to climb for Developmental Language Disorder (DLD). Whilst it is true that awareness and services are nowhere near where they need to be I have seen a number of promising signs recently.

  1. DLD day was bigger and better than ever last year. There were more events and social media posts. More countries are getting involved, from Greece to Nigeria!
  2. In the UK, action for DLD is happening everywhere wth Wales and Northern Ireland, in particular making big gains recently.
  3. In October 2023 I spoke at the TES SEND exhibition and 100% of the audience (largely SENCOs, and senior leaders) had heard of DLD. They were keen to find out more about what to do. In my experience it is increasingly common to meet teachers who have heard of DLD. This is a huge change from where we were three years ago. A real indication of the work going on. Well done all.
  4. In Facebook groups for families of children with DLD there are increasing numbers of families reporting their children are being diagnosed. Again, a big increase from where we were a few years ago.
  5. The DLD vision for the UK has now been launched. This was developed in partnership with people with DLD and families. I think this is a world first and it will help to drive developments further.
  6. Researchers are now finding families keen to get involved in their research. I had a recent query from a researcher seeking families to join an advisory group. I posted it to the ‘DLD Together’ Facebook group. The researcher emailed the next day saying she’d been inundated! This is a huge change from a few years ago when researchers often struggled to recruit families to such groups.
  7. Neurodiversity is starting to include DLD. Embracing Complexity is a collaboration developing practice and research about people with multiple diagnoses, and now have people with DLD on their advisory board.
  8. Adults with DLD are starting to make their voices heard. There are very few of them, and diagnosis in adulthood is nigh on impossible, but we have some amazing advocates.
  9. There are exciting service developments also such as the Interactive DLD Bubble developed by the Commit team from Wales. See here for more details. https://www.naplic.org.uk/resource/dld-bubble-toolkit/

We are still waiting for our big breakthrough moment, but momentum is building, and unexpected advances are happening.

*adapted from NAPLIC newsletter article first published in November 2023. Become a member and receive NAPLIC news straight to your inbox.



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