Global developmental delay

A diagnosis of global developmental delay (GDD) means that a child has not reached two or more milestones in all of the five areas of development:

  • Cognitive – relating to a child’s ability to learn and solve problems.
  • Social and emotional – relating to a child’s ability to interact with others as well as self-control and self-help skills.
  • Speech and language – the ability to use and understand language and all forms of communication.
  • Fine motor skills – control of fingers and use of small objects such as cutlery, pens etc
  • Gross motor skills – control of large muscles resulting in the ability to walk, sit etc.

As with developmental delay, global developmental delay is a spectrum. The number of areas in which a child is delayed, and the extent to which they are delayed, varies significantly within the overall diagnosis. In all cases global developmental delay will result in special educational needs (SEN).

In our experience, global developmental delay is likely to have a significant impact on a child’s ability to access education and the manner in which they are educated. In some cases SEN additional support may be adequate, however, in our experience an Education, Health and Care Plan (EHCP) will be necessary.


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