The term language disorder is used to refer to children who have persistent language difficulties with understanding and/or production of language that create obstacles to communicating or learning in everyday life.  DLD stands for Developmental Language Disorder and is the agreed term for when the language disorder is not associated with a known condition (e.g. autism, a genetic condition e.g. Down’s Syndrome, sensory- neural hearing loss).

A child with language and/or communication needs (LCN) may present as:

  • Talking less than their peers and find it difficult to express themselves verbally
  • Use language which sounds immature for their age
  • Struggle to understand instructions and information
  • Use limited vocabulary or difficulty finding words
  • Have difficulties putting a sentence together and using grammar correctly
  • Not retain what has been said
  • Show limited attention in class
  • Have difficulty learning to read and de-code texts
  • Struggle with understanding and managing emotions
  • Have limited ability to tell stories (e.g. saying what they did during the day)

Language difficulties may also underlie behavioural difficulties such as low self-esteem, anxiety or reduced levels of compliance in the classroom.

There are many ways to support language and communication needs at school & at home including;

  • Getting the child’s attention – say their name before asking a question and/or giving instructions so he/she knows that they have to listen
  • Using visuals – visual cues (such as gestures and pictures, acting things out) will help the child to understand and remember information
  • Checking the child has understood instructions or new information
  • Using simple sentences and short instructions – keeping the information short and simple will help the child understand and remember it
  • Giving the child time – the child may need more time to think, find their words and express themselves.
  • Encouraging the child to communicate with you however they can, accept gesture, pointing. facial expression
  • Praise efforts to communicate and acknowledge what they have said to support confidence in speaking.
  • Create language friendly classrooms to support the needs of pupils with a range of language and communication needs including the use of visuals.