DLD is most reliably diagnosed at 4–6 years of age. As soon as developmental delay is suspected, however, supportive measures should be introduced to minimise impact on the child’s activities and engagement. A speech therapist’s guidance can be sought even before two years of age.
If you are concerned about your child’s speech and language development, talk to a nurse at your local child health clinic. A referral is generally not needed to see a speech therapist; parents can contact the therapist themselves to make an appointment. Your child health clinic can provide the speech therapist’s contact information. A clinic doctor will prepare a referral for examination by a specialist if necessary, but usually it has to include copies of evaluations that have already been completed by a speech therapist and psychologist in primary care. If no developmental impairment or organic neurological disease or injury is suspected, your child will not be referred to a specialist until reaching 3–4 years of age.
The investigation, monitoring and rehabilitation of mild to moderate language disorders is part of primary care.