Children and young people with Language Disorder are as able and healthy as other children. With one primary exception; they have great difficulty thinking about, understanding and using language. Language Disorder impacts 7% of the population, which equates to 1 in 14 people, or around two students in a typical classroom. Having a Language Disorder can significantly impact a person’s life and may present in a variety of ways, including:

  • Delayed or limited ability to use words and sentences
  • Failure to understand instructions or follow conversations
  • Difficulty reading or writing
  • Difficulty communicating during social interactions

A child with Language Disorder will not develop speech and language skills in the typical way and more often than not, there is no obvious reason for this difficulty. This means a child with Language Disorder can be creative and eager to learn, but struggle to understand the language used in the classroom. They may have lots of ideas, but find it hard to put sentences together to communicate what they are thinking. Language Disorder looks different in everyone, and can be difficult to understand because we don’t know the cause. We do know the speech and language part of the brain does not develop like others, and genetics play an important part.

Language Disorder can be seen as a ‘hidden disability’ in that there may be no outward signs of disability, and no obvious physical indicators of a problem. These challenges can lead to frustration, poor self-confidence and challenging behaviour. Unfortunately, many people with Language Disorder remain undiagnosed, making it difficult for them to access required support.

Speech & Language Development Australia is committed to finding out all that we can and the funds you raise will help us unlock the complexities of Language Disorder so we can do more to help children affected. For more information please visit our website


“Imagine a world where language is a constant battle to process and understand. You have to break down each word and attempt to turn it into a word you understand. Then add context. Then make it into a sentence. Then write it. This takes an enormous amount of energy and concentration; children with language disorder go through this every day just to understand their own language and make sense of their experiences.”

Amy Heslop, Mum to Ryan who has Language Disorder

“Imagine having to fight 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year for the rest of your life, just to be heard.” Chloe, mum to 5-year-old Ethan