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Signs of DLD Across the Lifespan

Most children develop language skills in a predictable pattern across time. Children with Developmental Language Disorder (DLD) often develop language skills in the same predictable pattern but they are delayed in meeting language milestones.

​Language is a complex skill that helps us every day to:

Signs of DLD By Age​

Below are signs of DLD in English speakers by age. Every child is a unique person so some children with DLD may not show every sign. Typically developing children without DLD may also show some of these signs.

Preschool (3 years to 5 years old)

Primary School (6 years to 11 years old)

Adult (18 years and beyond)

When to Contact Your Child’s Primary Care Doctor

A diagnosis of DLD is not typically made prior to the preschool years but that doesn’t mean you should wait to act on concerns about your child’s communication. Here are some reasons to contact your child’s primary care provider:

1 year of age

2 years of age

3 years of age

This a guide on childhood language development. All children grow and develop differently. If you have concerns about your child’s health or development, contact your child’s primary care provider. If you have specific concerns about your child’s communication skills, contact a speech-language pathologist.


References

Leonard, L.B. (1998). Children with specific language impairment. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.

Rice, M. L. (2002). A unified model of specific and general language delay: Grammatical tense as a clinical marker of unexpected variation. In Y. Levy and J. Schaeffer (Editors), Language competence across populations: Toward a definition of Specific Language Impairment, (pp. 63-95). Mahwah, New Jersey: Lawrence Erlbaum.

Rudolph, J. M., & Leonard, L. B. (2016). Early language milestones and specific language impairment. Journal of Early Intervention, 38(1), 41-58.

Visser-Bochane, M. I., Gerrits, E., Schans, C. P., Reijneveld, S. A., & Luinge, M. R. (2016). Atypical

speech and language development: A consensus study on clinical signs in the Netherlands. International Journal of Language & Communication Disorders, 52(1), 10-20. doi:10.1111/1460-6984.12251