By Melissa Eccleston
Two years ago my child was diagnosed with Developmental Language Disorder (DLD). I had never heard of DLD and although I had leaflets given to me and websites to look at my understanding was still poor. Part of this was due to my own denial and the other was lack of or conflicting information that I read. It is only recently that I have started to gain a better understanding and have identified how DLD affects my child on a day to day basis.
My child is very laid back and has always been quite shy and his DLD was always something myself and my husband put down to his personality, we used to laugh at his funny stories of not really making much sense but at the same time telling a really good tale in his own unique way. Yes of course we thought he’d just grow out of it and if I’m honest I still thought this until recently! What changed my mind set was when I read that DLD is more common than autism yet most people have never heard of it.
Since my child has been diagnosed we have had fantastic support from our local speech and language therapist and school. Through my son’s diagnosis his school have identified DLD in other children and are now supporting them which is amazing!
He’s now soon to be 9 years old and my two main concerns have always been him leaving his amazing supportive primary school and gaining a job in the future. Recently I had a conversation with my child about his one to one session at school that day and I realised how much he is maturing. For the first time ever I asked him if he understood why his therapist visits him at school and he really did understand. I suddenly realised that throughout his life it his him that will need to ask for things to be explained a second time, or ask for more time on a particular task and that we need to start talking about it more as a family so in turn we can help educate others.
I have read so much negativity regarding a child with DLD and their job prospects for the future. Since my son’s diagnosis I have identified traits of DLD in my mother in law and my husband. My husband left school and joined the air force and he now runs his own business so my worries of my son’s future are now less. Aside from school support and specific homework set for my child’s needs as parents we will encourage our child to talk more about DLD and give him the confidence to explain to people when he is struggling. He is a very clever, caring, popular boy and he has a bright future ahead of him.