Awareness of DLD amongst workplace managers

Lemos, C. de, Kranios, A., Beauchamp-Whitworth, R., Chandwani, A., Gilbert, N., Holmes, A., Pender, A., Whitehouse, C., & Botting, N. (2022). Awareness of developmental language disorder amongst workplace managers. Journal of Communication Disorders, 95, 106165. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jcomdis.2021.106165

Aim of the paper:


In general, disability increases the risk on unemployment. It has been reported that people with DLD may find employment more difficult than most people. This paper aims to explore managers’ awareness of Developmental Language Disorder (DLD) and their views on training, adjustments and feasibility when considering employing an individual with DLD. Several barriers to employment are also investigated. An anonymous online survey was completed by 77 managers who came from a variety of backgrounds inside and outside of the UK, with an equal split between both public and private organizations, as well as across gender.

What was found:

  • The number of managers who had heard of DLD was lower than for the other disorders (ADHD, ASD, Dyslexia)

  • The need for manager training on developmental disorders was high across disorders

  • A number of key barriers to employment were identified and included: interviewing and CV submission, reading and following instructions, lack of clear guidelines around support needed, and financial restrictions on providing support

  • Potential strengths of employees with DLD that were identified by managers included their strong work ethic (e.g. hard working), strength of character (e.g. resilience and determination) and strength of compassion (e.g. empathy)

What does this mean?

In sum, it was concluded that only around 15% of managers were aware of the term “DLD”. Other disorders with similar or lower prevalence and long-term effects, such as ASD and dyslexia, were recognized by all the respondents. DLD is a relatively new term which is not used often across services. This is likely the reason for lower levels of awareness. The fact that managers are aware of other developmental disorders and not DLD has important implications for the workspace and employment success. Their strengths should be promoted and harnessed, in order to yield number of benefits for individuals with DLD such as increase in self-efficacy and encouragement of self-identification at the interview stage. Possible ways to approach the lack of awareness is via training programmes, public health, and media campaigns, as well as self-declaration by those with DLD.

Where can I read this paper?


This paper is open access, which means everyone can read it. Please click here to find the full paper.