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What is global development delay?

The term ‘developmental delay’ or ‘global development delay’ is used when a child takes longer to reach certain development milestones than other children their age.
This might include learning to walk or talk, movement skills, learning new things and interacting with others socially and emotionally.
Someone with another condition, like Down’s syndrome or Cerebral palsy, may also have Global developmental delay.
In some cases the delay in development can be short lived and overcome through therapy, in other cases the delay may persist, indicating they may also have a learning disability.

Developmental Delay unpicked:

As a child grows and develops, he learns different skills, such as taking a first step, smiling for the first time, or waving goodbye. These skills are known as developmental milestones. There is normal variation around what age children will achieve a specific developmental milestone. Developmental delay refers to a child who is not achieving milestones within the age range of that normal variability. Most often, at least initially, it is difficult or impossible to determine whether the delay is a marker of a long-term issue with development or learning (i.e. known as a disability) or whether the child will ‘catch-up’ and be ‘typical’ in their development and learning.

There are five main groups of skills that make up the developmental milestones. A child may have a developmental delay in one or more of these areas:
• Gross motor: using large groups of muscles to sit, stand, walk, run, etc., keeping balance and changing positions.
• Fine motor: using hands and fingers to be able to eat, draw, dress, play, write and do many other things.
• Language: speaking, using body language and gestures, communicating and understanding what others say.
• Cognitive: Thinking skills including learning, understanding, problem-solving, reasoning and remembering.
• Social: Interacting with others, having relationships with family, friends, and teachers, cooperating and responding to the feelings of others.

Usually, there is an age range of several months where a child is expected to learn these new skills. If the normal age range for walking is 9 to 15 months, and a child still isn’t walking by 20 months, this would be considered a developmental delay (2 standard deviations below the mean). A delay in one area of development may be accompanied by a delay in another area. For example, if there is a difficulty in speech and language, a delay in other areas such as social or cognitive development may coexist.

It is important to identify developmental delays early so that treatment can minimize the effects of the problem. 

There is no one treatment that works for every child with a developmental delay. Children are unique; they learn and grow and develop in their own way, at their own pace, based on their strengths and weaknesses. Any treatment plan will take this uniqueness into account and be designed to focus on individual needs. Early Intervention services are the main theme of treatment, but any underlying conditions that have led to developmental delay will need to be treated as well. Early intervention services may include:
• Speech and Language Therapy
• Occupational Therapy
• Physical Therapy
• Behaviour Therapies, such as those used to treat autism and behavioural issues
In addition, if there are other disabilities present medical or surgical treatments may be required to manage those conditions.
It is important for all children with developmental delay to have their hearing and vision evaluated so that untreated visual or hearing impairments do not complicate the situation.

What we offer here at the practice is a range of therapies including INPP (Institute for Neuro-Physiological Psychology) this is a motor movement and brain training exercise programme , Sensory Integration, Bilateral Integration and Vision Therapy. We put a programme together to meet the needs of individual children. 

We talk a lot about Neuro-Plasticity and how sensory stimulation can strengthen old neural pathways and establish new ones. Permanent change in the synaptic organisation of the brain can only occur when the exposure to stimulation is intense, sustained and frequent, thus retraining the brain to function at a more efficient level.

In order to recommend the most appropriate intervention it is necessary to attend an assessment (2 1/2hrs) at the practice. We like to have a medical consultation a few days/weeks prior to this, which takes about an hour, with the parent or carer without the child so that we can have a full discussion and get a detailed and comprehensive view of the child before their assessment.

We are happy to see children with GDD at any age but obviously the assessment will be geared around what they are able to do physically and verbally.

We also work with children who have been diagnosed or suspected to have;

Autism and Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) – an extreme inability to communicate normally and develop social relationships. It is often accompanied by complex behavioural challenges, such as prolonged fixation on an object or group of words, or a complete inability to talk. It is considered the most complex and hardest to understand childhood neurological disorder.

Asperger’s Syndrome – similar to Autism but with excellent verbal skills

ADHD (Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder – A very broad diagnosis that covers symptoms from an inability to concentrate and focus to extreme hyperactivity and a lack of ability to control impulses to the point that it disrupts the family, friendships and the classroom