Global Developmental Delay
What is Global Developmental Delay?
Global Developmental Delay (GDD) is the general term used to describe a condition that occurs during the developmental period of a child between birth and 18 years. It is usually defined when an individual is diagnosed with having a lower intellectual functioning than what is perceived as normal for their age. It also often involves limitations in communication.
What causes Global Developmental Delay?
One of the main causes of Global Developmental Delay would be chromosomal and/or genetic abnormalities such as Downs Syndrome and Fragile X Syndrome. It can also be caused by abnormalities in the structure or development of the brain or spinal cord such as Spina Bifida or Cerebral Palsy.
Other causes of Global Developmental Delay include prematurity and infections such as Congenital Rubella or Meningitis. However, a developmental delay is not the same as a developmental disability. Doctors sometimes use those terms to mean the same thing, but they are very different.
“Developmental disabilities” refer to physical or mental issues that kids don’t outgrow. They create problems with learning and self-care. They aren’t learning disabilities. Conditions that can cause developmental disabilities include Down syndrome, Angelman syndrome, autism and brain injuries.
Whereas, “developmental delays” are not caused by lifelong physical and mental conditions but may be signs of learning and attention issues.
Signs of Global Developmental Delay:
- The child is unable to sit on the floor without support by eight months.
- The child is unable to crawl by 12 months.
- The child has poor social skills/judgment.
- The child is unable to roll over by six months.
- The child has communication problems such as babbling, imitating speech and failing to identify sounds, as well as understanding what other people are trying to communicate to them.
- The child has fine/gross motor difficulties such as sitting up, rolling over or picking up small objects.
- The child shows aggressive behaviour as a coping skill.
Sensory treatment for Global Developmental Delay:
- The wind-up toys are a great way to improve hand and finger strength for those with Global Developmental Delay, the aim of getting the toy to move will keep your child motivated to make it work while also improving their hand and finger strength and improving their reflexes.
- Sensory balloons, fill several balloons with various fillings such as rice, marbles, pasta, sand, flour, water, hair gel etc., the aim is to feel and squeeze the balloons in order to guess what is inside them, this will improve hand and finger strength as well as communication.
- Using Play-Doh is another great way to improve finger and hand strength while keeping your child entertained and motivated.
Core strength activities for Global Developmental Delay:
- The balloon catch, this involves your child catching a balloon while in a number of positions such as sitting on both knees, sitting on one knee and standing on one leg. This fun activity will improve your child’s core strength and hand/eye coordination while keeping them entertained and motivated. As your child’s core strength improves the balloon can be substituted to a bean bag or ball for extra weight.
- There are also a number of pretend animal activities that will improve core strength such as “pretend to be snakes” in which the child is only allowed to move like a snake or “let’s be monkeys and lift things with our feet” these types of activities will largely improve core strength and communication.
- Exercise ball, this involves your child leaning over an exercise ball with the aim of organising something on the floor, for example, putting all the green marbles in the green box. This exercise is good for core strength and hand/eye coordination.
- The floor is lava! An oldie but a goodie, this game involves your child pretending the floor is hot lava that they can’t stand on and the only way to get across the floor is to stand on two cushions, they then need to move the cushions across the floor without touching it in order to get to the other side, this activity will improve your child’s core strength, coordination and also problem-solving skills.
To conclude there is no single treatment for Global Developmental Delay but there are ways to help some of the conditions that may be causing the delay. The activities mentioned above are mentioned because they are the easiest to perform in a home environment that will improve your child’s core strength and coordination which will, in turn, reduce some of the effects of Global Developmental Delay.
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About Ciara McElhinney
Child Therapy NI. Written By Cory Spence. Psychology Student.