Áras Chill Dara in Naas will be lit up in purple and yellow today Friday 14 October to mark International DLD Day.
DLD is Developmental Language Disorder and the county council headquarters will go purple and yellow to raise awareness.
Among those raising awareness is Ballyboden GAA senior hurler Karl Reddy (23) . Karl was diagnosed with Developmental Language Disorder (DLD) when he was six years old. DLD is a hidden but common disability that affects 1 in 14 people. DLD causes difficulties understanding and using language for no known reason. Later in life, without help, those with DLD can struggle with their mental health and in gaining employment. Karl wants everyone to learn about DLD so that those who have the condition will get the help they need. When asked about growing with DLD, Karl said:
“Growing up with DLD was hard during my early school years, during my time in primary school my blissful ignorance to my condition didn’t faze me at all even if I had difficulty communicating with friends, teachers, and pupils alike. However, going into secondary school, I came to the harsh reality that I wasn’t like everyone else, I wasn’t as academic or fast as a learner. To make things worse my friends started to drift away from me and move on with their lives and make new friends with ease, for me I struggled to advance on. I couldn’t quite explain to people what it was I was going through as I couldn’t figure out how to say it. This not only took a toll on my academic learning but on my mental health as well. In 4th year I was set up in my social media class and was tasked within my group to come up with and inspirational idea for a video. Although a lot of ideas sprung to mind my mam suggested I should put myself out there and talk about my story with DLD. The group loved the idea of it and so we began filming. I was so nervous about putting myself out there as I feared it would only make my life worse and make me look like an attention seeker. However, this was far from the case and ended being one of the best decisions I made in my life”
Developmental Language Disorder Day (#DLDday), now in its sixth year, is celebrated annually around the world with more than 40 countries involved. This year’s campaign theme for DLD Day is ‘Growing with DLD’, highlighting that DLD is a lifelong, permanent disability. People do not grow out of DLD but with individualised support that can include regular speech-language therapy and educational adjustments they can thrive. It’s about growing with DLD.
Karl, when asked what advice he would give his younger self about growing with DLD said: “Talk to your friends, get it out there to your teachers, pupils, coaches etc. talk talk, talk. It doesn’t have to be done through a big grandiose video, you just need to get it out there and express yourself and show who you really are. It will be hard to explain it to someone what you’re going through but if they are willing to listen and help understand your situation it lifts a massive weight off your shoulder. I wish I had done it sooner [then his video in 4th year] but I was glad I did as it gave everyone around me a perspective of how life is for someone like me and how difficult it can be, and that no matter what your struggles are even if we can see it or not we should do everything we can to help each other and encourage people to live the life they deserve rather than alienating them for their differences.”