Global Development Delay

When an infant or child exhibits a delay in two or more areas of development, this may be referred to as “global developmental delay”. The child may have difficulties in the following areas:

  • Language or Speech
  • Motor Skills (Movement)
  • Social and Emotional Skills
  • Cognitive Skills (Thinking)

The functioning of the central nervous system is affected. This can occur for various reasons, such as:

  • A Genetic Defect (e.g. Down syndrome; Fragile X syndrome)
  • A Metabolic Disorder (e.g. PKU)
  • A Prenatal Factor (e.g. rubella; birth trauma; fetal alcohol syndrome caused by a mother drinking alcohol during pregnancy)
  • A Perinatal Factor (e.g. prematurity or the result of a childhood injury or infection)

In some cases the cause cannot be determined. Many children with global developmental delay have difficulties with speech and language. Speech-language therapy is often an important and necessary part of the child’s overall treatment program.