MythBuster! Taking the Fake News Out of Developmental Language Disabilities
One of our roles as SLPs is being an advocate. We tirelessly advocate on behalf of our clients to state, federal, and local government, doctors and insurance. We advocate to teachers, family, and friends and we advocate to the general public, because it is often the general public that misunderstands the most about DLDs but comes to us when a speech or language disorder is suspected in their own children.
Misinformation and falsehoods about DLDs are one of the most popular reasons why people don’t seek out therapy for their children. As SLPs we are constantly dispelling myths about DLDs so more people can seek out the treatment they need for their children.
DLDs are Development Language Disorders and one of the most common conditions in children. The complexities of language are difficult and children with DLDs often don’t understand what other people are saying or struggle expressing themselves when speaking. Children who don’t present with other conditions such as Autism, Down Syndrome, or hearing problems, and are well into elementary school or beyond, are the clients who suffer from a DLD and overlooked the most.
Despite being one of the most common disorders among children, it’s often misrepresented and mistreated as behavior problems. Here we dispel some myths for you to share with parents and teachers.
Myth 1: Children will Outgrow a Language Delay
Yes, there are children who are categorized as “late talkers” who will catch up to their friends, siblings, or cousins, but not every child will. The truth is, those who begin school with limited language skills often behind in language skills by two years as compared to their peers.
Myth 2: Testing for Language Disorders Isn’t Done Until a Child Starts School
Sadly this is one of those myths that leave us SLPs scratching our heads. Of course a child can be tested for language delays and disorders before they begin school. What’s even more important is that the earlier a language disorder is discovered, the better.
Myth 3: Bilingual Children are More Apt for DLDs
This couldn’t be further from the truth. If you have parents who are concerned that they should only focus on one language at home for fear of causing a DLD, put their fears to rest by assuring them that being a bilingual family does not cause a developmental language disorder. As SLPs we ask questions such as, “Was the child slow to start speaking,” “What kind of progress is the child making at school in terms of learning English,” or, “What is the family history”? These questions give us a much better glimpse at diagnosing a DLD in bilingual children.
Myth 4: “Baby Talk” Causes Developmental Language Disorders
You’ve probably heard a well-meaning grandmother chide a mother for talking to their baby in a sing-song voice or high pitched melodic voice. There’s a reason that babies respond to baby talk: Babies favor the sing-song voice and prefer this kind of speech and lets them know the conversation being had is for them.
Myth 5: Bad Parenting Causes DLDs
If we speech therapists had a nickel for every time we heard this. Families in disadvantaged situations are often led to believe that their child has a DLD because they didn’t have the resources, talk, or read enough to their child when the reality is a child may be genetically predisposed to a DLD, especially if there is a family history of learning disabilities or language problems. Children in disadvantaged situations may grow up to be adults with lower literacy skills and job opportunities without taking genetic influences into consideration and further pushing the myth that it’s the parents’ fault.
Developmental Language Disorder, while an unseen but common language disorder doesn’t need to remain that way; with the proper diagnosis, treatment, and support a DLD can be improved and possibly overcome.
We’ve debunked the myths, now let us help you further your career as a speech pathologist! Work on the forefront of speech technology as a teletherapist. Check out our newest openings here.