The most common neurodevelopmental condition you’ve never heard of

24 November 2023: At last month’s Raine Symposium, speech pathologist and Curtin University lecturer Dr Lizz Hill explained Developmental Language Disorder (DLD) is up to five times more common than the rate of autism and just as common as ADHD.

Our understanding of where DLD comes from, and the impact on Australian children, is limited.

Using data from Raine Study Gen1 and Gen2 participants, her study team found around two children in each mainstream classroom of 30 students in Western Australia experience a slower pace of language development and have difficulty producing and understanding language—a rate comparable with international studies.

Children with DLD are at an increased risk for mental health disorders, poor academic, social and vocational outcomes than their peers. And having a mother who smoked during pregnancy was associated with an increased risk of DLD in children aged ten.

Being male is widely regarded as a risk factor for DLD but interestingly, their study found an equal distribution between boys and girls.

Dr Hill and her team are now exploring the mental health, educational and vocational outcomes of children with DLD and the heritability of language disorder.

Watch her prize-winning oral presentation here, or read the Research Papers: 

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