Global Developmental Delay (GDD)

What is Global Developmental Delay?

Global Developmental Delay (GDD) is a diagnosis of generalized intellectual disability.
A child with GDD is one who is considered to have significantly lower intellectual functioning than their peers.

To be diagnosed under GDD, the child must also be significantly limited in at least two developmental domains, including, gross motor, vision and fine motor, communication (i.e. speech/hearing/language) and social skills.

Causes of Global Development Delay

GDD is normally attributed to genetic abnormalities including development of the brain and spinal cord.  It has also been linked to other events in life included pre-mature birth, infections and other environmental factors.

Some examples include:

Prenatal or perinatal causes:

  • Exposure to teratogens or toxins (tobacco, alcohol, illicit drugs)
  • Prematurity
  • Congenital infections
  • Congenital hypothyroidism – normally picked up on newborn screening.
  • Birth trauma
  • Intracranial haemorrhage

Postnatal causes:

  • Infection (meningitis, encephalitis)
  • Cranial trauma

Environmental causes:

  • Poor nutrition
  • Family stress
  • Child abuse or neglect

Symptoms of Global Developmental Delay

Typical symptoms of GDD include:

  • The child is late in sitting up, crawling, walking
  • Limited reasoning or conceptual abilities
  • Fine/gross motor difficulties
  • Poor social skills/judgment
  • Aggressive behaviour as a coping skill
  • Communication problems

Treatment for Global Developmental Delay

At Think Psychological Services we are focused at providing early assessment and diagnosis of developmental difficulties experienced by your child so that early intervention can be implemented.

Whilst GDD cannot be cured, we encourage children with a GDD diagnosis to commence psychological, educational and social intervention (as appropriate) in order to provide the best chance for improvement to their quality of life.

Global Developmental Delay (GDD)