Looking for something?

Find it in our extensive resource library!

Smart Filters

  • Reset
  • Services

  • Who it's for

  • What it’s about

  • Format

View: 2186

Download: 15

What is Developmental Language Disorder (DLD)?

A face looking confused with a question mark beside it

What is DLD?

DLD stands for developmental language disorder.

Having DLD means someone would have significant, ongoing difficulties understanding or using spoken language.

There is no known cause of DLD which can make it hard to explain.

One person helping another with something being written down on paper

What are the signs someone has DLD?

Your child may:

  • not talk as much as other children of their age.
  • find it difficult to say what they want and how they feel.
  • have a smaller number of words and struggle to find the right word.
  • use simpler sentences and sound like a younger child.
  • struggle to understand instructions and explanations.
  • not remember information they have been told.
confused face

What impact might it have?

It may impact on your child’s:

  • learning
  • reading and writing
  • social interaction
  • friendships
  • emotions – your child may get frustrated, angry, anxious, or shy.
A smiling face with a hand pointing and a thought bubble with an exclamation point inside

What can I do to help?

Understanding about DLD is really important. It helps you to understand your child’s strengths and areas where they need help.

It’s important to:

  • use simple language
  • repeat information
  • talk slowly enough to give them time to process what has been said
  • use pictures and symbols
  • use signs, gestures and demonstrations
  • let them use their eyes to support their understanding of what you are saying

Check their understanding: can they tell you what they have been asked to do?

Give positive feedback. We want them to feel good about their communication efforts.

Talk together all the time when in play, sharing books, watching tv, eating meals, walking to school.

Repeat new words many times to help your child learn.

Additional resources and information

Full DLD resource library directory: resources for children and young people with DLD and their families.

Contact us

For more information please contact the Speech and Language Therapy Service at Flockton House on 0114 226 2333.

Is something missing from this resource that you think should be included? Please let us know

Contact us


Please note: this is a generic information sheet relating to care at Sheffield Children’s NHS FT. These details may not reflect treatment at other hospitals. This information is not intended as a substitute for professional medical care. Always follow your healthcare professionals’ instructions. If this resource relates to medicines, please read it alongside the medicine manufacturer’s patient information leaflet. If this information has been translated into another language from English, efforts have been made to maintain accuracy, but there may still be some translation errors. If you are unsure about any of the guidance in this resource or have specific questions about how it relates to your child, always ask your healthcare professional for further advice.

How useful did you find this resource?*


Western Bank
S10 2TH

United Kingdom

Switchboard: 0114 271 7000

Interesting Facts

We’ve got a special MRI scanner just for teddies so children can see what it’s like before they have a scan.

Help to transform our extraordinary hospital into something even better.


By continuing to use the site, you agree to the use of cookies. more information

The cookie settings on this website are set to "allow cookies" to give you the best browsing experience possible. If you continue to use this website without changing your cookie settings or you click "Accept" below then you are consenting to this.