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Knowledge and perspectives of DLD in criminal justice system workers

Benes, C., & Lund, E. (2024). Knowledge and Perspectives of Developmental Language Disorders: The Pilot Development of a Survey of Professionals Working in Law Enforcement. American Journal of Speech-Language Pathology, 1-21. doi: 10.1044/2023_AJSLP-22-00374

Key terms that are in this paper:

  • Criminal justice system: a system that works to enforce the law and stop crime. People who work in the criminal justice system include the police, judges, lawyers and other government parties.

  • Communication breakdown: it happens when people try to share their ideas, but other people cannot understand them.

  • Credibility: the extent to which a person can be believed.

Aim of the paper:

There are only a few research papers exploring the understanding of language disorders among workers in the criminal justice system.

Therefore, this study aimed to:

  • Examine criminal justice system workers’ knowledge, attitudes and perception of DLD.

  • Explore whether criminal justice system workers want to learn more about DLD.

What was found:

  • Workers in the criminal justice system had little knowledge of DLD.

    • 69% of them said they haven’t heard of DLD.

    • 21% of them said they may link credibility with language difficulties, or lower language ability. This might mean individuals with DLD are not believed as much as those without DLD.

  • 73% of the workers did not have experiences working with people with DLD.

  • 90% of the Criminal justice workers were willing to learn more about DLD and want to attend training about working with people having DLD.

  • Workers in the criminal justice system want to help meet the needs of people with DLD in the justice system.

What does this mean?

  • DLD may be associated with low credibility in the criminal justice system.

  • It can be helpful to provide DLD training to workers in the criminal justice system so that they are more aware of DLD and can better meet the needs of people with DLD.

  • More research is required to expand the understanding of DLD in the criminal justice system to support witnesses, offenders and victims with DLD.

Where can I read this paper?

This paper is not open access. If you wish to read the full paper, please email and request a copy of the paper.


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