Global Developmental Delay

It refers to a significant lag in the physical and cognitive development of a child. The child fails to hit developmental milestones in motor skills, speech, cognitive skills, and social and emotional development. It defines as the delay in one or more of the above developmental milestone skills.

The causes are multifactorial such as genetic disorders like Down Syndrome, prematurity, Hypoxic brain injury at birth, chronic childhood infections, Autism, inborn metabolic disorders etc can result in developmental delays.


  • The child does not develop normally with multiple systems affected. For instance, they are unable to crawl or walk at the expected time.
  • They may also be unable to develop their speech or hold items in the hand such as spoons or pens. Cognitive and emotional impairment is also impaired with the child unable to display ability to learn or show appropriate emotional responses.
  • The child is unable to normally interact with other children.


A parent will observe a child fail to develop certain skills or abilities at a given age. Thereafter, a healthcare provider like Paediatrician, Developmental Paediatricians or Allied health professionals will need to perform comprehensive assessments.


The child will require both physical and psychological therapy to address the specific issues. Early childhood interventional therapies with Speech therapist, Psychologist Therapist, Physiotherapist and Occupational Therapist. The severity of the delay may vary for different systems and this will determine the duration and effectiveness of the interventions. Referral to Early childhood intervention therapies at local community health centres, private allied practitioners and to seek help from the Government funding via EACH or NDIS applications.

Furthermore. a General Paediatrician or Developmental Paediatrician at local CATS team will monitor regularly the physical growth, interventional therapies and outcomes. The Paediatrician might perform investigations including genetic tests. The parent plays a central role in helping the child learn and develop the necessary skills by spending more time with the child and focusing on teaching them with patience and love.

Why choose us to deal with global developmental delay?

Our doctors have a wealth of experience in treating children with this condition, your child will therefore be a recipient of well researched management, tried and tested methods that will ensure they get better.

We believe that conditions should be viewed in a multidisciplinary format which means that we will allow your child to be viewed by a team of experts so that every condition and outcome is well mitigated.

Is there likely to be a recurrence of the delay?

Children who experience developmental delay may go on to live normal lives without any challenges. Once controlled and treated, all the child may have to go through is therapy to ensure there is no recurrence.

This, however, does not rule out the fact that if neglect or a child has the rare neurodegenerative conditions the child may revert back to the original state. It is therefore important that these children are followed up for several years to ensure they live without any limitations.

If you have any queries about how your child is developing, feel free to make an appointment with our Paediatricians and Allied Health team at Kids Health Space for multidisciplinary team management.