Let's talk about GDD!
What is Global Development Delay?
(GDD) is an umbrella term used when children are significantly delayed in their cognitive and physical development. It's diagnosed when a child struggles to achieve one or more milestones, such as walking or talking, and it effects how they move, learn, communicate and behave around others.
GDD may be a result of family history, including genetic conditions such as Down Syndrome or a chromosomal condition such as Fragile X Syndrome (FXS) or it can result from environmental conditions including exposure to toxins like alcohol in the womb or other difficulties during pregnancy.
GDD is categorised into delays in motor skills, speech, cognitive skills, and social and emotional development and each child's traits and obstacles are unique.
What are some common traits?
Children with GDD find it harder to do everyday activities that their peers have mastered. The presentation of traits are completely dependant on the child and their experience with GDD, so here are just a few signals that may indicate delays in cognitive and emotional development:
- Issues understanding and retaining information
- Struggle to solve problems
- Abstract views of social rules, causing them to interpret social cues differently
- Alternative forms of communication, resulting in difficulties responding appropriately to others
- Challenges when developing personal independence and self care skills
- Difficulties navigating their environment through movement due to delays in the development of gross and fine motor skills
- They may struggle to interact and play with their same aged peers
- Different ways of self-regulating emotions and expressing themselves
Many children with developmental delays are masters at learning through play and show lots of interest in activities that involve play. They love fun, creative activities that teach core fine and gross motor skill through an alternative approach.
What to do if you're worried your child has GDD
The first step is to talk to a professional! You can set up an appointment with your family's GP and work together towards the correct diagnosis. From there, you can begin to create a personalised learning plan, so your child can gain assistance from experts and develop their motor, communicative and cognitive skills, and their emotional regulative strategies.
Kids with developmental delay love to keep learning, especially through playful and creative activities however, they may take a little longer to develop core skills. You may need to break tasks like getting ready for school up into smaller, simpler steps and provide more opportunities to practice skills such as tying their shoes, walking, talking and writing.