Developmental Language Disorder
Developmental Language Disorder
Developmental language disorder (DLD), previously known as specific language impairment (SLI), refers to delayed acquisition of expressive and receptive language. DLD includes difficulties with vocabulary (semantics) and grammar (morphology and syntax). DLD/SLI can be identified by a speech-language pathologist or psychologist. Assessment for treatment planning and provision of intervention is conducted by a speech-language pathologist.
Learn more about DLD from the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association:
Implications of Developmental Language Disorder
DLD can negatively impact a child's success in school, reading and writing development, mathematics (Alt, Arizmendi, & Beal, 2014), and social skills. Without intervention, the gap between children with typically developing language skills and those with DLD widens over time.
SLPs typically advise against a 'wait and see' approach. Unfortunately, parents often hear this from professionals in other fields. SLPs are the professionals qualified to evaluate language development and diagnose language delays and disorders. If a parent has concerns, they should request an evaluation by an SLP.
A speech-language pathologist is able to evaluate and diagnose SSDs and answer the following questions:
What is the nature of the child’s difficulties? (e.g., expressive and/or receptive language, vocabulary, aspects of grammar, discourse level, etc.)
Is this child’s errors normal for his/her age or are they consistent with a delay/disorder? (e.g., if a child does not yet combine words, is that normal for their age?)
How severe is the delay/disorder?
What is the child’s prognosis for improvement with intervention?
What therapeutic approach and procedures are appropriate to treat the delay/disorder?
Assessment typically involves:
Interview with parents and collection of case history
Expressive and receptive language testing
Screening of speech sound production
Examination of the oral cavity
Standardized assessment of expressive and receptive language development (compares an individual child's performance to other children their age)
Analysis of samples of natural utterances and responses from standardized assessment
Probe for response to treatment strategies
Contact Shoreline to learn about options for intervention.
"Developmental Language Disorder"
Courtenay Norbury, SLP, for The Association for Child and Mental Health
"Signs of SLI (DLD)"
"Developmental Language Disorder (DLD): The Consensus Explained"
"Lily Farrington's Amazing Developmental Language Disorder Animation"
This chart provides a general guide of the milestones for expressive vocabulary, sentence length, and grammar development. It also provides several red flags to help guide parents to known when to consult with a speech-language pathologist.
References on This Page
Alt, M., Arizmendi, G. D., & Beal, C. R. (2014). Relationship between mathematics and language: Academic implications for children with specific language impairment and English language learners. Language, Speech, and Hearing Services in Schools, 45, 220-233. doi:10.1044/2014_LSHSS-13-0003