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What is Global Development Delay

Children have different paces of growth. They do not achieve milestones of development equally. It is a well-known phenomenon for a child to be a bit behind their peers of similar age in achieving these developmental stages. However, some of them catch up with time.

A Global Developmental Delay, commonly known as GDD, is a situation where a child is always behind peers in achieving certain levels of intellectual growth and development.

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Types Of Global Development Delay

There are different types of global developmental delays. They are sensorimotor, socioemotional, cognitive, and speech-language delays. Usually, symptoms of developmental delays are first discovered in children before two years of age.

Some children can have a disorder that gives rise to one or more developmental delays, thereby affecting several functional areas. In cases like these, the child is said to have GDD.

Cognitive Delays

Cognitive delays inhibit a child’s intellectual reasoning and capacity. Children with cognitive developmental delays often face challenges with obeying simple instructions. Some of them usually have trouble conversing freely, as well as action and speech imitation.

They may also experience challenges in playing and communicating with their peers. Also, they often lack curiosity and cannot pay attention, unlike others. They usually have difficulties remembering and might not comprehend what everyday items like chairs are used for.

Some common Cognitive Developmental Disorders include:

Children with CDs are often administered play therapy and behavioural therapy to aid their cognitive delays. The therapists often show the parents how to use these therapy techniques on their children.

Sensorimotor Delays

Sensorimotor delays affect children’s fine and gross motor functions. This delay also affects their capacity to process sensory information. Usually, gross motor functions are carried out by large muscles in the human body.

By effect, gross functions affected by sensorimotor delays result in children finding it difficult to roll over, crawl, or hold their heads firm. For older children, it affects their ability to walk, run or walk on stairs, run, throw objects, etc.

Delays in fine motor function development affect their finger muscles, so they may find it hard to write, pick up small items, tie laces, hold spoons, etc. Also, they may experience stiffness and restricted movements in their arm and leg regions. Studies also have it that children who can not follow the sight or sound of objects might be suffering from a sensorimotor delay.

Some Sensorimotor Developmental Disorders include:

  • Sight Impairment
  • Muscular Dystrophy
  • Spina Bifida
  • Cerebral Palsy
  • Hearing Impairment
  • Ataxia
  • Myopathy
  • Autism

Treatments administered to children with sensorimotor delays are physical therapy to develop the fine and gross motor function. Occupational therapy is specifically administered for motor function development. It is also used for children that have sensory processing disorders.

Socioemotional Delays

Socioemotional delays deal with children’s interactions with others. These forms of delay also deal with how these children define and react to people’s emotions.

Children with socio-emotional delays may find it difficult to understand social cues and manage change or disappointment. Also, they may not be able to handle situations that require social and emotional attention. As a result, they may be hot-tempered and not be relaxed enough to regulate issues.

At the infant stage, socioemotional children do not wave back, smile back, or return gestures. They may also be scared of new faces or distance themselves from those around them.

Some disorders associated with socioemotional delays include:

  • Asperger’s syndrome
  • Social communication disorder
  • Alexithymia
  • Reactive Attachment Disorder (RAD)
  • Autism
  • Social-Emotional Processing Disorder (SEPD)
  • Non-Verbal Learning Disorder (NVLD)
  • Anxiety disorder
  • Disinhibited Social Engagement Disorder (DSED)

Children with this condition are often shown how to build communication and intimacy with others. Some therapies employed in the treatment of this condition include:

  • Behavioural therapy
  • Play therapy
  • Skill-oriented therapy

In some cases, medications are also involved when treating disorders associated with socio-emotional delays. However, they are used for children with problematic characters.

Speech and Language Delays

Children with speech and language delays find it challenging to relate with and understand others. They find it hard to comprehend words and understand concepts. They also experience shortened vocabulary and complications in sentences. Conveying their thoughts is a tricky thing.

Some children at infant stages do not babble or talk. As they grow older, they are slow to make up sentences. They mostly imitate words they hear rather than constructing sentences on their own. Sometimes, they suffer from weaknesses in their mouth muscles, causing them to be deficient in oral communication. These weaknesses also inhibit the movements of their jaw and tongue.

Some disorders associated with speech and language delays are:

  • Wernicke’s Aphasia or Receptive Language Disorder
  • Childhood Apraxia of Speech
  • Autism
  • Speech Production Disorder
  • Expressive Language Disorder
  • Dysarthria

The first step to treating these conditions is an evaluation. A speech-language pathologist performs this evaluation. They may perform other examinations like testing the child’s hearing, reception, and expression. The most common treatments are speech and language therapy. Parents also have their parts to play in the therapy process, especially at home.

Symptoms of Global Developmental Delay

There are different signs and symptoms of Global Developmental Delay in children. They differ based on specific characteristics. Sometimes, these symptoms are visible during their infant stage, but as they grow, they disappear. Some common signs are:

  • Crawling, rolling over, walking, or sitting up later than developmentally expected.
  • Talking difficulties or delay in talking development.
  • Incapacity to weigh actions and outcomes.
  • Difficulty with studying and learning at school.
  • Learning and improving slowly than developmentally appropriate.
  • Inability to communicate and socialise with people.
  • Low IQ.
  • Difficulty in remembering information.
  • Hardship with solving problems and thinking logically.
  • Always needing help with daily chores.

Developmental delays caused by medical reasons can be managed if the medical cause is diagnosed and treated.

Risk Factors of Global Development Delay

Health practitioners are still studying the relish factors associated with developmental delays. However, some have been discovered, and they include:

  • Maternal diseases during pregnancy like rubella and chickenpox. The above-listed ailments are risk factors of cerebral palsy.
  • The use or abuse of alcohol or drugs during pregnancy.
  • Insufficient oxygen to the baby during childbirth.
  • Shaken baby syndrome.
  • Undernutrition and malnutrition.
  • Exposure to poisonous substances like mercury and lead.
  • Genetic conditions like Fragile X syndrome, muscular dystrophy, Down syndrome, and cerebral palsy.
  • Low birth weight.
  • Premature birth.
  • Hearing and vision disorders.
  • Untreated childhood sicknesses like meningitis and whooping cough.

Global development delays in children should be treated as early as possible.

Can a Child Outgrow Global Development Delay?

Some children tend to grow out of developmental delay without any special treatment. However, children with a delay can achieve more developmental milestones with assistance.