SOPHIE (AGE 37)
Now 37, Sophie had speech and language problems identified when she was three years old with her parents concerned about her understanding of words and speech. They sought help for a situation that some people blamed on Sophie’s parents not communicating with Sophie, a hurtful accusation when Sophie was in a very nurturing, supportive family environment.
Despite other people not believing them, Sophie’s parents knew Sophie had difficulties that needed recognition in order for her to receive specialist help. They battled to have Sophie diagnosed with speech and language problems and for her to receive intensive speech and language therapy, as well as attend a specialist school. The support she had there made a dramatic difference to Sophie’s development, including her reading and writing skills.
On leaving school, Sophie trained as an early years practitioner and today works at a day nursery supporting children with complex needs. She is very talented at her job and has good relationships with children and colleagues. Happily, the role builds on Sophie’s personal and professional strengths.
But, Sophie’s language difficulties mean that sometimes it can be hard to follow meetings, to have the confidence to ask what people mean and explain things. This led Sophie a few years ago to pluck up courage to tell her managers and colleagues that she had Developmental Language Disorder (DLD). This required Sophie to explain how DLD can affect her everyday – and while people have been supportive, she worries they still do not really understand what it is.
“I was diagnosed with DLD when I was young. I’ve had great support from my parents, and specialist schooling and support including from speech and language therapists, so I have been able to succeed in more than I would ever expect.”
“It is always there in my life, and something I have to find strategies to get by. I wish I could do things that other people could do, and take things in and remember things when told the first time. My friends are really supportive but I wish that people had more knowledge about DLD [developmental language disorder] and there was more support. It’s a hidden condition, and people need to know about it. [Having DLD] does get me down. It causes me to have anxiety and low self esteem.”