A Clinical Approach To Global Developmental Delay (GDD) And Patterning

Failure to reach developmental milestones by the expected age range is known as global developmental delay (GDD). According to objective standards, this describes a noticeable delay in two or more developmental domains in children five years old or relatively young. Cognition, speech and language, personal-social, and daily living activities are the developmental domains getting affected.

The studies indicate that children with GDD have significantly limited intellectual functioning (problem-solving, learning, reasoning, and learning) and adaptive behaviour (practical, social, and conceptual skills) that begin before age 18. Learning disability, as opposed to intellectual disability, is defined by the UK Department of Health’s strategy as the presence of impaired social functioning accompanied by impaired intelligence that began before adulthood and had a long-term impact on development.

What Causes Global Developmental Delay In Kids?

According to some studies, family history, which may include chromosomal disorders like Fragile X Syndrome (FXS) or genetic conditions like Down syndrome, may be a factor in overall developmental delay. Additionally, it might arise due to various environmental factors like pregnancy complications or exposure to toxins.

The researchers discovered the use of DNA testing to identify potential causes of GDD in a recent clinical paper published in late 2019. They found GDD in 55.7% of patients, which is a sizable number. GDD may also come up by life events, illnesses such as brain injuries or infections, and malnutrition.

Global Developmental Delay

What Are The Effects Of Global Developmental Delay On A Child?

Now that we know what GDD is and its causes, you might want to find out how it affects young children. Here we have listed the major developmental areas that GDD impacts.

1. Fact Retention

There is a strong link between memory and the learning process. For learning, memory serves as a place to store information and makes it possible to retrieve and encode it. Memory functions are necessary for learning because they serve as a framework for connecting newly learned information to previously stored knowledge. Although there are many ways to retain that information in human memory stores, recall, repetition and active learning are the main methods. 

A child’s intellectual functioning and a general sense of awareness are both affected by cognitive delays. Learning new subjects can also be challenging for children with cognitive delays. Additionally, such kids have difficulty interacting and having fun with other kids of their age.

2. Motor Abilities

One can determine a child’s motor skills by their capacity to coordinate different muscles in their body, including their hands, legs and arms. Rolling over or crawling can be challenging for infants with motor delays. Children who are affected might have trouble climbing and descending stairs. Holding objects or toys and carrying out tasks like tooth brushing or shoe tying will be challenging for kids with fine motor delays.

3. Behavioural, Social and Emotional Abilities

Children with developmental delays and neurobehavioral disorders struggle with emotional, social, and behavioural problems. These children may appear to be falling behind their peers in learning ability and social interactions because children with this condition typically take longer for their brains to develop fully. (rephrase)

4. Speech Abilities

A speech disorder that affects kids with oral motor issues that make speaking complex, such as tiredness of the mouth muscles or tongue or jaw problems, has known physiological causes, including genetic syndromes and brain damage.

Understanding GDD

How To Understand If Your Child Is Suffering From GDD?

At a certain age, a child should begin to develop their skills. For instance, by four or five months, or possibly a little earlier or later, a baby can start rolling over and performing related movements. However, the first indications of a general development delay may appear if a baby cannot move much after reaching the defined milestone, is unable to hold up their head, or is still not “babbling.”

You can refer to the following checklist to compare your child’s development to typical developmental milestones:

  • Between 3 and 4 months, the infant should react to loud noises. The infant should be able to mumble and mimic noises.
  • At seven months, the infant should begin to respond to sounds.
  • At one year, the kid should begin uttering basic words like “mama.”
  • At two years: At Least 15 words should be the speaking capacity for the infant. It should be able to speak short phrases, usually no more than two words, without mimicking or repeating others. Most of the time, the child should talk to express their needs instead of acting them out.

If your child does not showcase these developmental changes, there is a high chance that they must be suffering from global developmental delay and must seek global delay development treatment.

Diagnosis And Treatment for Global Developmental Delay

  • Diagnosis Of GDD

1.Next-Generation Sequencing- 

Sanger sequencing is slower and more expensive than next-generation sequencing (NGS) technologies, which use massively parallel DNA sequencing techniques. Nucleotide sequencing has helped diagnose paediatric neurological disorders, including neurodegenerative disease, epilepsy, and autism spectrum disorder, since the development of NGS. 

Diagnostic genetic tests, such as fluorescence in situ hybridisation or molecular biology testing (FMR1 for fragile X syndrome), deny or confirm monogenic disorders when the clinical picture suggests a syndromic form of GDD. 

Recent advancements in next-generation sequencing (NGS) technologies have made them a crucial diagnostic tool for creating a genetic diagnosis in children with GDD. This method has decreased the mean cost per diagnosis in conditions that are typically more difficult to detect, like mosaicism. Moreover, this has ensured that more children get the necessary global delay development treatment in due time. 

2. Equations Or Calculation of GDD-

One can classify Global Developmental Delay as mild, moderate and severe by doing some calculations. If the functional age is less than 33% of one’s chronological age, it is considered mild; if it is between 36% and 66% of one’s chronological age, it is considered moderate; and if it is more than 66% of one’s chronological age, it is considered severe. (The chronological age refers to your current age or the time from birth to the present. By evaluating how well an older person functions as a whole and how they go about their daily lives, functional age assesses their level of functioning.) (Add a government link, such as gov.au, org.au, that mentions the percentages)

3. Detailed Interview With Guardian or Parent-

This interview will gather specific information about the child’s past, current development, and known illnesses or injuries. The interview process may not be accurate in determining the extent but helps in deciding the best course of action towards the child’s global delay development treatment.

4. The Tomatis® Method-

Head over to the The Australian Tomatis® Method and check the boxes of symptoms exhibited by your child to get a detailed diagnosis of the problem. A team of qualified personnel will get back to you with the results and help you and your child figure out and treat the problem effectively.

Other diagnostic tests include physical therapy, assistive technology, speech or language evaluations, vision and hearing tests, etc.

Treatment For Global Development Delay
  • Treatment For Global Developmental Delay

1.The Tomatis® Method-

The ear is the gateway to the brain and the body, so it is crucial to understand how closely connected these two organs are. The Tomatis® Method primarily employs the ear’s early (passive) stages to transmit music through distinct contrasts, or “filters.” The brain learns to recognise variability and to take advantage of changes in it as a result of doing this. During the active phase, the user now delivers a tone automatically tuned by the listening device (TalksUp® and specialised headphones), providing what the brain should comprehend. You can treat developmental disabilities involving behaviour, language, and cognition with the help of the Tomatis® Method, a professional support system.

2. Physical Therapy:

Children experiencing motor delays can benefit from physical therapy by learning exercises and skills to help them catch up or recover from an injury that may cause them.

3. Speech Therapy:

By focusing on vocabulary, articulation, or other forms of communication, speech therapists can assist children in learning to employ language to express their needs.

4. Occupational therapy:

Another approach for global developmental delay therapy is occupational therapy. Occupational therapists assist with the development of adaptive skills. Occupational therapy can help people with fine motor skill development, sensory issues, and other functional tasks.

5. Re-Evaluation:

Since GDD is an umbrella term for various developmental delays, re-evaluation can help pinpoint the child’s delays and offer a more precise diagnosis as the child ages and can undergo more detailed assessments. This will ensure that the child opts for a more suited global developmental delay therapy and has a better chance in managing their condition.

Help Your Child Lead A Better Life With The Tomatis® Method

Some children with GDD can catch up in their development and, as they get older, stop meeting the requirements for a developmental disorder. Some people struggle with GDD, whether mild, moderate, or severe, throughout their lives.

The Tomatis® Method is a sound therapy that enhances communication and listening abilities. With headphones on, a person using the Tomatis® Method can listen to music that has been electronically altered and other sounds, like a mother’s voice.

Please feel free to contact or reach out to our team if you would like to interact with one of our Tomatis® experts in Australia to get that early diagnosis and intervention done to treat the problem as soon as possible.

Françoise Nicoloff

Official Representative of Tomatis Developpement SA in Australia, Asia and South Pacific, Director of the Australian Tomatis® Method, Registered Psychologist, Certified Tomatis® Consultant Senior, Tomatis® International Trainer and Speaker, Co-author of the Listening Journey Series, 40 Years of Experience, Neurodiversity Speaker

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