On Developmental Language Disorder (DLD) Awareness Day, Shadow Minister for Early Learning Donna Faragher is adding her strong support to this year’s campaign #ThinkLanguage #ThinkDLD.

Mrs Faragher said the Day provided an important opportunity to recognise DLD, a communication disability that affects two children in the average Australian classroom.

“DLD emerges in early childhood and persists through to adulthood and affects 1 in 14 children,” Mrs Faragher said.

“Children living with DLD may experience difficulties in learning, understanding and using spoken language. It can significantly affect a child’s ability to successfully communicate with their peers, family members and teachers.

“The goal of this year’s campaign is to increase the early identification of DLD and support for students at school.

“A particular focus is on raising awareness and providing greater opportunities for educators to become more DLD aware which I strongly support,” Mrs Faragher said.

Mrs Faragher said that in addition to increasing awareness and training opportunities for teachers, improving access to allied health services such as speech pathology was also critical.

“The earlier a need is identified and strategies and supports are put in place, the more likely a better outcome can be achieved.

“We must therefore continue to identify opportunities that increase children’s access to services which will assist in the early identification of developmental disorders and other learning and language difficulties.

“One such opportunity is to introduce a general speech pathology service directly into primary schools.

“This would allow students to receive individual one-on-one support on school grounds and assist in the early identification of their needs.

“Teachers would also benefit by having direct access to information and supports to complement their teaching practices in the classroom.

“Other States have successfully introduced such a school-based service and I will continue to call on the McGowan Government to introduce a similar service in Western Australia,” Mrs Faragher said.