Developmental Language Disorder – it’s a hidden and often misunderstood disability. Last night, the MGH Institute of Health Professions and an advocacy group helped bring this impairment from out of the shadows by shining a light – a purple one – on four well-known bridges.
Boston’s Zakim and Longfellow bridges, along with the Fore River Bridge in Quincy and the Burns Bridge in Worcester, were all bathed in purple light from dusk yesterday until dawn this morning to mark Developmental Language Disorder Awareness Day 2022.
The coordinated lighting was the effort of faculty and students from the IHP and Raising Awareness of Developmental Language Disorder (RADLD), the lead organization raising awareness about the disorder.
“DLD is five times more common than autism yet very few people know about it,” said Dr. Tiffany Hogan, a national literacy and reading expert, Director of the Speech and Language (SAiL) Literacy Lab and a professor of speech-language pathology at the MGH Institute. “If you know 50 people, you likely know at least four people with DLD but are unaware. DLD Day helps bring awareness to this common yet hidden learning disability."
Developmental language disorders are more prevalent than people think, especially when you consider:
DLD affects 1 in 14 people
People with DLD are:
- Six times more likely to suffer from anxiety
- Three times more likely to suffer from clinical depression
DLD impacts speech, language, and communication in such a way that makes understanding and using language difficult. That, in turn, impacts quality of life.
“People with DLD are also at significant risk of struggling with reading, spelling and mathematics,” said Stephen Parsons, Chair of RADLD. “Although DLD is a common condition affecting many areas of life, people with DLD are unlikely to receive access to services.”
The bridge lightings are intended to raise awareness and remind communities that with proper support, individuals with DLD can be helped and their quality of life can be significant improved.
Do you have a story the Office of Strategic Communications should know about? If so, email ihposc [at] mghihp.edu