What is Language Disorder?

Language Disorder (LD) is a developmental disorder that affects how children think about, understand, and use language. It is the primary impairment that contributes to restrictions in an individual’s participation and well-being in everyday activities.

For a child with LD, it is the language difficulties that impact most upon the child’s development and his/her access to the educational curriculum.

What are some areas of communication that can be affected by a language disorder?

  • The desire to communicate with others
  • Understanding what is being said
  • Having the vocabulary to express wants and needs
  • Forming sentences that are age-appropriate
  • Being part of a conversation
  • Interpreting and using body language

How will I know if my child has LD?

A child with LD has difficulty understanding what we say to them and using words to communicate. Your child may have problems in the following areas:

Behaviour – your child may:

  • not respond to his/her name
  • find it hard to concentrate and stay on-task
  • be easily distracted and frustrated
  • be reluctant to contribute to conversations due to an awareness of his difficulties

Daily-Living Skills - your child may find it difficult to:

  • share or take turns
  • develop new skills (eg. tying laces, getting dressed)

Organisation and Planning – your child may find it difficult to follow familiar routines and organise himself/herself. He/She may appear:

  • to have a tendency to lose things
  • forgetful and clumsy

Problem-solving – your child may have trouble identifying and solving problems in both academic and social situations.

Classroom Learning – your child may have difficulty listening and learning in class.

Reading – your child may struggle when:

  • sounding out words
  • understanding what has been read

Writing – your child may struggle with:

  • handwriting
  • forming words and sentences

Numeracy – your child may demonstrate difficulty with:

  • sequencing
  • abstract concepts

What should I do if I suspect my child has LD?

Language difficulties may occur for many reasons. Consultation with a speech pathologist is essential to determine whether your child has LD. Your child may also need a cognitive assessment by a psychologist. Your paediatrician will be able to assist in diagnosing and/or excluding other developmental concerns.

Will my child outgrow LD?

LD is a lifelong disorder that changes over time. Your child will need continuous support, however early identification and intervention will maximise developmental outcomes for your child.

Is there a specific therapy approach that can help my child with LD?

Every child diagnosed with LD presents with different difficulties. LD intervention will involve language therapy, but may also involve additional therapy by some or all of the following professionals:

  • Speech Language Pathologist
  • Learning Support Staff
  • Occupational Therapist
  • Physiotherapist
  • Music Therapist
  • Psychologist

What assistance is available for LD?

As leaders in Language Disorder intervention and therapy we are here to help.

We offer two core service areas to support you:

The Glenleighden School – The only school in Australia dedicated solely to students with language disorders. The school provides programs for preschool to secondary students with crossover to mainstream.  It provides comprehensive, intensive multi-disciplinary programs which are highly individualised, addressing the full scope of the students’ developmental and learning needs.

The Glenleighden School uses a model of integrated, specialist service and constantly aims to be a ‘centre of excellence’ in this field of disability.

Let’s Talk Developmental Hub – Let’s Talk offers multidisciplinary allied health services for children and young people with speech, language and associated disorders. Let’s talk Clinic services, incorporate eTherapy as well as being providers of services under the Helping Children with Autism and Better Start commonwealth early intervention funding.

Let’s Talk also offers a School Support Service and professional development program. The program continues to support students with a language disorder across Queensland to enhance their participation, inclusion and educational outcomes.

For more information on how we can help you navigate Language Disorder please call (07) 3378 8444 or email info@childassoc.org.au. We will help you find the answers you need to move forward.

Other support options:

Speech Language Pathologists (SLP)

  • Community Health Centres offer assistance to children with communication difficulties. Please contact your local centre for information.
  • Some schools employ SLPs to assist students with communication difficulties.  Ask your child’s Learning Support Teacher for further details.
  • Private speech pathology practices can provide support outside the school environment. To access a SLP in your local area please visit Speech Pathology Australia


Contact your local GP to discuss a referral.