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GDD
Global Development Delay

Being told that your child has global development delay (GDD) can leave many parents and caregivers worried and anxious, not least because it's not always clear what GDD is and what it means for your child. Here we take a look at what GDD is, what the signs of global development delay are, and, importantly, what can be done to help a child who is diagnosed with GDD.

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All children should be a part of society.... not apart from society.

UNICEF on Twitter


 

GDD: What is it?

Particularly in the early years of a child's life, there are a number of mental and physical milestones that they are expected to reach. Physical milestones include learning to roll, crawl, walk, run, hop, pick up objects, or become toilet trained. Children also have thinking and learning milestones. For example, learning to talk, problem solve and play are all activities that children are expected to master. Children also have milestones related to social development, such as learning how to hold a conversation, play with others or share toys can all be milestones.

GDD may be diagnosed when a child doesn't meet some (or all) of their milestones within what are considered "normal" parameters. It's important to remember that children all develop at different rates, and the "normal" period for children to progress through their milestones is very varied. In some cases, a child may catch up when they're ready. GDD is normally only diagnosed when there is a pervasive delay in development.

Areas of delayed development

For the purposes of diagnosis, GDD is divided into the following categories. Sufferers may experience delays in some, or all, of the following:

    • Cognitive skills
    • Speech
    • Motor skills
    • Social and emotional development

Symptoms of Global Development Delay
Generally, GDD is observable from just a few months old. Typical symptoms include:

    • By six months old, the child's social and communication skills are poor.
    • At eight months old, the child is unable to sit upright.
    • Not crawling or walking by a year old.
    • Children may be more aggressive than average.
    • Difficulty with holding objects, balancing objects and constructive play.
    • Depending on the cause of GDD, other organs may be affected in the body, so children with GDD may also have a number of other medical conditions or problems (co-morbidities).

Causes of GDD

There isn't always a recognisable cause for GDD. Where a cause can be identified, GDD may be due to: Down's syndrome, autism, birth trauma, cerebral palsy, infections (such as meningitis), genetic conditions or a metabolic disorder.

 

 

GDD
Global Development Delay

All children should be a part of society.... not apart from society.

UNICEF on Twitter


 

Being told that your child has global development delay (GDD) can leave many parents and caregivers worried and anxious, not least because it's not always clear what GDD is and what it means for your child. Here we take a look at what GDD is, what the signs of global development delay are, and, importantly, what can be done to help a child who is diagnosed with GDD.

GDD: What is it?

Particularly in the early years of a child's life, there are a number of mental and physical milestones that they are expected to reach. Physical milestones include learning to roll, crawl, walk, run, hop, pick up objects, or become toilet trained. Children also have thinking and learning milestones. For example, learning to talk, problem solve and play are all activities that children are expected to master. Children also have milestones related to social development, such as learning how to hold a conversation, play with others or share toys can all be milestones.

GDD may be diagnosed when a child doesn't meet some (or all) of their milestones within what are considered "normal" parameters. It's important to remember that children all develop at different rates, and the "normal" period for children to progress through their milestones is very varied. In some cases, a child may catch up when they're ready. GDD is normally only diagnosed when there is a pervasive delay in development.

Areas of delayed development

For the purposes of diagnosis, GDD is divided into the following categories. Sufferers may experience delays in some, or all, of the following:

    • Cognitive skills
    • Speech
    • Motor skills
    • Social and emotional development

Symptoms of Global Development Delay
Generally, GDD is observable from just a few months old. Typical symptoms include:

    • By six months old, the child's social and communication skills are poor.
    • At eight months old, the child is unable to sit upright.
    • Not crawling or walking by a year old.
    • Children may be more aggressive than average.
    • Difficulty with holding objects, balancing objects and constructive play.
    • Depending on the cause of GDD, other organs may be affected in the body, so children with GDD may also have a number of other medical conditions or problems (co-morbidities).

Causes of GDD

There isn't always a recognisable cause for GDD. Where a cause can be identified, GDD may be due to: Down's syndrome, autism, birth trauma, cerebral palsy, infections (such as meningitis), genetic conditions or a metabolic disorder.

 

 

child-toddler-playing-with-toy-indoors

A delay in development may be nothing to be concerned over. Most delays in development do resolve themselves in time. It is when there is more than one delay across a range of domains (learning, movement, thinking, motor skills, speech, communication, daily living and social skills) that Global Development Delay is considered.

Children with developmental delays can learn. Developmental delay and developmental disability are circulated often in the health profession and sometimes misinterpreted.

Developmental disabilities are long-term delays in a child's development and are different to learning disabilities. Although slow or difficult, learning and development can be made by children with disabilities such as Autism, Angelman Syndrome, Down Syndrome, Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder or brain injury.

 

How to help your child if they suffer from GDD

If you notice that your child is behind their peers, or have any concerns about their development, it's important to seek professional assistance promptly. In some cases, apparent GDD may have a clear physical cause (for example, vision problems may lead to children being slow to learn), which can be sorted out quickly. In other circumstances, input from expert therapists (such as speech therapists or a physiotherapist) can lead to marked improvements. Diagnosis also enables workers at a child's school or daycare to put suitable assistance in place.

GDD isn't a hopeless condition. With the right help and support, it's usually possible even for children who've been badly affected to improve and thrive.

If you suspect your child is not reaching typical milestones for their age or within a reasonable time frame, check with a health professional to investigate the possible causes.

When a physician suspects GDD, they may request both hearing and vision tests as part of the workup.

There are many reasons for a developmental delay and with proper treatment can lessen the impression. Australian researchers believe an iron deficiency can advance developmental delays in children. So too can lead poisoning, especially in children under five years of age.

MOST DEVELOPMENTAL DELAYS ARE NORMAL AND DO RESOLVE THEMSELVES. INTERVENTION PROGRAMS DO ASSIST WITH DEVELOPMENTAL PROBLEMS WHETHER THROUGH PLAY-BASED LEARNING OR EARLY INTERVENTION CAN HELP YOUR CHILD CATCH UP.

Children who receive early intervention are less likely to need it when they're older

EARLY INTERVENTION DOES HELP

https://www.cps.ca/en/documents/position/evaluation-of-the-child-with-global-developmental-delay-and-intellectual-disability

https://www.understood.org/en/learning-thinking-differences/treatments-approaches/early-intervention/what-you-need-to-know-about-developmental-delays

https://raisingchildren.net.au/disability/services-support/services/early-intervention#:~:text=children%20start%20school.-,Early%20intervention%20is%20the%20best%20way%20to%20support%20the%20development,take%20part%20in%20everyday%20activities.

https://www.aedc.gov.au/

https://tomatis.com.au/global-developmental-delay/

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Global_developmental_delay
https://raisingchildren.net.au/guides/a-z-health-reference/developmental-delay