Global Developmental Delay

Global Developmental Delay (GDD) affects up to 3% of children, specifically younger than five years old. Some known causes include but are not limited to: genetics, infections, toxins (drug abuse, medications), prematurity, asphyxia, trauma, and psychosocial environment/neglect.

Importance of Diagnosing

  • Timely initiation of treatment and/or supportive management
  • Prevention of complications
  • Improved prognosis/outcome/quality of life
  • Access to services and resources in the community

Criteria to Diagnose

The diagnostic criteria for GDD involve significant delay in at least two of the following developmental areas:

  • Gross or fine motor
  • Speech/language
  • Cognition
  • Social/personal
  • ADL’s

How to Identify Developmental Delays

  • During routine developmental screening with physiotherapists and pediatricians
  • Following reports and concerns from parents
  • Through third-party observers such as preschool teachers or daycare providers

How Physiotherapy Can Help

  • Encourage parents to share any concerns regarding their child’s development
  • Screen for signs of other conditions
  • Screen for red flags
  • Referral to primary care physician or other healthcare practitioners
  • Assess age-appropriate gross motor milestones and development
  • Develop children’s running, skipping, hopping, catching, throwing, and kicking to the best of their abilities