Global developmental delay in children

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 by the child being diagnosed with having a lower intellectual functioning than what is perceived as ‘normal’. It is usually accompanied by having significant limitations in communication. It is said to affect about 1-3% of the population.

Causes:The most common causes of GDD are chromosomal and/or genetic abnormalities such as Down's Syndrome and Fragile X Syndrome or abnormalities with the structure or development of the brain or spinal cord such as Cerebral Palsy or Spina Bifida.Other causes can include prematurity – being born too early - or infections, such as Congenital Rubella or Meningitis.Toxic (poisonous substances) such as alcohol in the case of fetal alcohol syndrome can also contribute. For some children, the cause of the GDD is never identified.

Signs:The child is unable to sit on the floor without support by 8 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 6 months;
The child has communication problems
The child has fine/ gross motor difficulties
The child shows aggressive behavior as a coping skill

Treatment: 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
Behavior Therapies, such as those used to treat autism and behavioral issues

Alternative treatment:Alternative approaches include everything from mind-body medicine (meditation or prayer), homeopathic remedies, probiotics, and alternative diets to more invasive therapies such as vitamin B-12 injections, intravenous immunoglobulin or chelation therapy .

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