Skip to main content

Neurodiversity and Co-occurring difficulties

Developmental Language Disorder (DLD)

Developmental Language Disorder (DLD) was previously known as Specific Language Impairment (SLI) it is a type of speech, language and communication need (SLCN).

Children with DLD are usually as able and healthy as other children in all ways, with one exception; they have enormous difficulty talking and understanding language.

There is no obvious reason for these difficulties and they are not associated with other conditions, such as cerebral palsy, hearing impairment or autistic spectrum disorders. Children with DLD are often as clever as any other child of their age but they still have difficulties with speech and language.

A child can be diagnosed with DLD if their language difficulties:

· are likely to carry on into adulthood

· have a significant impact on progress at school, or on everyday life

· are unlikely to catch up without help

Children are not usually diagnosed until after the age of 5 and until some therapy has been carried out to see if the difficulties resolve.

More information


The children's communication charity. Experts in helping children develop the speech, language and communication skills they need to thrive in the 21st century world.


The Communication Trust

This is a coalition of over 50 organisations. Working together they support everyone who works with children and young people in England to support their speech, language and communication. The site contains lots of free resources for parents and practitioners.