Introducing The DLD Diagnostics Toolbox

The purpose of this toolbox is to address questions related to the diagnosis of Developmental Language Disorder (DLD). The intention is to summarize diagnostic issues for the international community of speech-language pathologists / speech and language therapists (or others) concerned with identifying DLD. Infographics and other tools will be developed to support decision making whenever possible. There will be a particular focus on identifying DLD in school children and an educational context, although other age groups and contexts will be addressed as well. 

Developmental Language Disorder refers to a persistent language difficulty with a significant impact on everyday interactions or educational progress. DLD occurs in about 7% of first grade children (Norbury et al., 2016), and is a hidden and under-recognized disorder. In the past few years, efforts to increase awareness of DLD have increased. Two excellent sources of information about DLD include Raising Awareness of Developmental Language Disorder,, and

Developmental Language Disorder is a relatively new term to describe the condition. It was determined as part of an international consensus building process reported in ‘the CATALISE studies’ (Bishop et al., 2016, 2017). The aim of the consensus was to bring consistency to the criteria and terminology used to describe childhood language disorders. As professionals around the world begin to implement the consensus criteria and terminology, many questions around the diagnosis of DLD arise. The aim of this toolbox is to address these issues for international consideration in order to continue towards our aim of consistent identification and improved service for those with DLD.

My name is Lisa Archibald, and I am an associate professor in the School of Communication Sciences and Disorders at The University of Western Ontario. I was a member of the consortium for both the 2016 and 2017 CATALISE studies. I am currently a member of the RADLD international committee and a founding member of DLDandMe. In Ontario, Canada, I worked with colleagues and the Ontario Association of Speech-Language Pathologists and Audiologists to create a working paper (and video) on implementation of DLD in Ontario. I teach a course on school age language and related disorders. My talented students have created many wonderful #WesternDLD2 projects about DLD and other issues related to SLP services for school age children.

If you have comments or topic suggestions for the blog, please email me at, find me on twitter at @larchiba6, or follow the toolbox on Instagram @dld_diagnostics.