Developmental language disorder research


Research Initiative

Education theme

Delivery systems; Inclusion; Teachers, teaching and learning

Focus by region


Professor Usha Goswami continues her neuroimaging investigation of developmental language disorder

Yidan Prize funds are applied to open the doors to innovative technology for children with developmental language disorder

The Yidan Prize funds will be used to conduct a neuroimaging investigation of developmental language disorder (DLD) carried at the University of Cambridge. 

Children with DLD have difficulties understanding and using spoken language for no obvious reasons, affecting how well they learn in schools. Worldwide, over 15 million children are affected by this disorder. 

This project aims to be the first in the world to reveal the neural basis of DLD, by collecting matched neuroimaging and sensory data for DLD children via simple listening tasks. 

Project results will help create a classifier to identify children at risk of this disorder at infancy and discriminate DLD from dyslexia, both needed but currently impossible. The aim is to create a ground-breaking tool that supports efficient oral language learning by enabling DLD children to access education normally.  

As the Principal Investigator, Professor Goswami will utilize her research program, which has been developed over 15 years. It is the only approach to DLD in the world that is based on rhythm, in the study of DLD. 

In three years’ time, Professor Goswami and her research team aim to achieve the following: 

  • Novel research outcomes on the neural basis of DLD
  • Creation of a classifier to distinguish the DLD brain from dyslexic brain
  • Creation of a classifier to identify children with DLD 
  • Research papers showing how data from research results could enable the development of new clinical therapists based on rhythm.

The project will disseminate the following information through online channels and other activities:

  • Optimal ways of talking to infants for Mothers & primary caretakers of infants.
  • Optimal ways of supporting early language skills for teachers of early years. 

It is expected that project results would open the door to innovative technology to help to ameliorate DLD in all languages in the future. It would also inform simple changes for clinical speech and language therapies and infant-carer linguistic interactions.