31 March 2021
I am Ellen, I am 16 and from Liverpool and I am studying Creative Media at 6th Form College. In my experience, no one knows what DLD is. When you struggle with communication, life can be hard for you and your family as you need words for everything. Often, I have felt invisible. I wanted to help give a voice to all those children and families in the same situation as myself. It is important that they too are seen and heard, so with my Uncle’s help I have created a website so that things can change.
My personal experience of being diagnosed with DLD happened while I was at school in Year 10 and it finally put a name to what I was experiencing and helped me to make sense of my feelings. The biggest thing I feel is exhaustion when I have to focus all day. If I’m not given enough time to answer or think about things, I can zone out and I just stare into space and it’s like my brain has got to restart. If there is lots of talking on and on, I can’t keep up with all the words so I find it frustrating and I just want to leave the room for a break. Sometimes I need to sleep as my brain has overloaded, or I need fresh air to reset my batteries. People often assume I can’t speak or that I don’t know the answer to a question if I don’t answer straight away as they don’t give me enough time, which does my head in!
The more people that know about DLD the better it will be and the more likely there will be tolerance and understanding. Apart from my speech and language therapist, no one I’ve spoken to has really heard about DLD, which is sad. I definitely want teachers and parents to know more as they can make the biggest change in someone’s life. As part of my college course, I am doing a documentary about DLD for one of my media projects. I made a mood board with images to try and show what it is like to have DLD for my media teachers.
Despite all its challenges, I believe DLD has made me brave, resilient and strong and I see things other people don’t in conversations – such as non-verbal cues. I want to make life easier for people with DLD to have a voice so there is a higher expectation of what we can achieve and that those with DLD are not written off or underestimated. I strongly believe that all people with DLD need is time, patience and adjustments.
I hope my website will help parents and teachers understand what DLD is like so they can support children and young people. I don’t want children or young people to be worried or afraid. They are not alone.
I really want people to understand what it is like growing up in a place without a voice and how they can help. Everyone deserves a fair chance.
Ellen’s ‘This is DLD’ website can be found at https://sites.google.com/view/thisisdld/home
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