Understanding Global Developmental Delay

The term Global Developmental Delay, or GDD, is used when a child shows delays across several areas of development. It is a general term used to describe any delay in the developmental period of a child between birth and 18 years.

These delays must have continued for at least 6 months, and are usually accompanied limited communication abilities.

GDD is believed to affect about 1-3% of the population.

    Facts about Global Developmental Delay

    There are many possible causes of GDD, some are permanent, but others aren’t. They include:

    • Premature birth
    • Genetic condition such as Down Syndrome
    • Chromosomal condition such as Fragile X
    • Metabolic conditions such as thyroid function
    • Problems in pregnancy or during birth such as heavy bleeding or lack of oxygen to the baby
    • Vision or hearing loss
    • Speech and language difficulties
    • Injuries or infections of the brain such as head injury or meningitis
    • Ongoing illness and lengthy hospitalisation


    What are the symptoms of Global Developmental Delay?

    Child development is complex and each child with GDD may present differently. There are many areas in child development that they may be delayed in. The delays may be in:

    • Speech and language development
    • Gross motor development (walking, crawling)
    • Fine motor development (holding toys, drawing)
    • Thinking, understanding and learning
    • Social interaction and how they relate to others (make friends)
    • Emotional regulation
    • Tasks of daily living (getting dressed, toileting)

    The combination of delays and degree of delays will have different impact on how the child and their family can function and how much support they may need. During the process of receiving a diagnosis a child may have to go through a broad range of assessment; including:

    • Vision and Hearing tests
    • Speech and language assessment
    • Behaviour tests
    • Cognitive assessment
    • Activities of daily living assessment
    • Blood tests
    • Genetic and chromosomal tests
    • MRI
    • Neurological test

    How can CPL help?

    No matter where you are on your journey, we are ready to help you achieve your goals. Our services aim to support people to reach their full potential through:  

    For more information about how we can support you with Global Developmental Delay, visit our services page, call us on 1800 275 753 or send an online enquiry