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  • Alex Buxton

Myth Busting: Debunking common misconceptions surrounding Developmental Language Disorders

Despite Developmental Language Disorders (DLD) being prevalent amongst Children in the United Kingdom, with research finding that on average 2-3 children in each classroom being afflicted by the condition (Lyons and Roulstone 2018), many misconceptions around DLD still exist. A combination of the fact that DLD have no known cause and are often difficult to identify, has resulted in a poor understanding of the condition (Bishop et al, 2016). In this article, we seek to tackle five common misunderstandings surrounding DLD.

Myth 1):Being Bilingualism increases the likelihood of having a DLD A prominent concern amongst bi-lingual parents is that talking to their child in two languages can stunt their language development. This belief stems from the notion that instead of developing a child’s knowledge of two languages, it can stunt their development in both.However, no empirical study has ever found any truth to this claim (​Petitto & Holowka, 2002​; Paradis, Genesee, & Crago, 2010​). Children require high-quality language input from their parents, regardless of the language this comes from. Myth 2): DLD is a fancy term for disruptive Those who are not informed on the causes and consequences of DLD are often tempted to simply class Children living with the condition as naughty or lazy (Guardian 2016). They view the condition as an excuse made for trouble some Children. However, this is not the case. Children with DLD struggle to understand instructions given to them, especially when these instructions are spoken quickly or in an environment where there are plenty of distractions. This is coupled with the fact that it takes them longer to formulate a response to the instruction than the average child. As a result, the Child’s inability to comply with the task set out for them is often misconstrued as disobedience, when in actuality it is due to their condition. Myth 3): People with DLD aren’t intelligent DLD is not an intellectual disability and therefore, doesn’t prevent a person with this condition from being smart (DLDandME 2019). Instead, it impacts a person’s ability to comprehend conversations and express themselves. Myth 4): They will grow out of it? Some parents are tempted to believe that their child’s language difficulties are something they will simply grow out of. Like Maggie Simpson, they expect that one day their child will simply start talking fluent prose and will catch up with their peers quickly. However, this typically isn’t the case. Research has found that on average children with DLD have a 2-3 year gap in Language abilities in the first 3 years of Primary school, and struggle to make this up this difference as they progress (Guardian 2017). Hence it is vital to identify and treat DLD as soon as possible. Myth 5): Oh it must be the parents’ fault! Another common misconception surrounding DLD is that they stem from bad parenting. People often are quick to blame the parents for a child’s language difficulties, believing they simply don’t talk to them enough (BBC 2012). However, this assumption is not correct. Although the causes of DLD are still some what unclear, we do know that DLD are primarily caused by genetics (Smith 2007). However, this isn’t to say that parents can’t be a part of the solution, and there are many ways that parents can help a child improve their language skills.





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