Global Developmental Delay (GDD)

  • Author :
  • TATA AIG Team
  • Published on :
  • 03/07/2023

Babies and toddlers grow and develop basic motor and social skills, like sitting up, crawling, rolling up, walking, becoming toilet trained, and talking as they age. These skills are the developmental milestones of every kid. However, not all kids develop the same skills at the exact timelines. For example, while one child may crawl earlier than usual, another child may not crawl at all and straightaway starts walking.

Children grow and acquire skills at their own pace. A child may show early development initially but may slow down after a while or even slip back for a short while. However, if a baby or a toddler is much behind the usual milestones, it may be a cause for concern.

Introduction to Global Developmental Delay

GDD is a term used when a baby takes longer than average to reach one or multiple developmental milestones. GDD full form in medical sciences, is Global Developmental Delay. Global Developmental Delay requires professional medical help from a qualified and trained medical practitioner. A medical insurance plan can be helpful in global developmental delay treatment. Health insurance plans help you seek the best advice and treatment for your family without having to sweat over the costs involved.

Symptoms of GDD in Pediatrics

There are 4 primary areas of development under which a kid develops skills. These are:

  • Cognitive skills

  • Speech and language skills

  • Social and emotional skills

  • Fine and gross motor skills

As a baby grows, it acquires skills one by one, which are essential for performing daily routine activities and living an independent life. Therefore, a slight delay in reaching one of these milestones is not a cause for worry. However, if the baby lags in multiple areas, it may be a sign of GDD disease.

Global learning delay symptoms can be unobvious at the start, and parents may have to keep a close watch on a delay in the child’s development. Parents can compare their child’s growth against the list of developmental milestones. However, only a paediatrician can confirm the presence of GDD in a child.

The developmental milestones for speech and language skills are:

  • By 4 months, a child should respond to loud sounds and try to imitate sounds and babble.

  • By 7 months, a baby should start responding to sounds.

  • By 1 year, a baby should be able to speak simple words like ‘mama.’

  • By 2 years, a baby should be able to use more words than actions to express and speak small sentences.

The developmental milestones for motor skills that can help identify motor delays are:

  • By 3 months, a baby should be able to lift its head.

  • By 6 months, a baby should be able to sit with some support.

  • By 2 years, a baby should be able to stand up and start walking.

  • By 5 years, a child should be able to stand on one leg for around 20 seconds and eat using a spoon.

It is usual for a child to fall outside the normal range, but if there is an unusual delay in performing one or more of these activities, it is best to consult a child specialist.

Global Developmental Delay Causes

Global developmental delay in a child should not be seen as a shortcoming or fault in parenting. GDD does not have a single cause, and in most cases, it may be challenging to identify its exact cause. Moreover, global developmental delay can indicate an underlying condition that only a child specialist can identify. Some common issues that may cause GDD in a child are:

- Birth complications: Lack of enough oxygen in the mother’s womb, premature birth, problems in pregnancy, low birth weight, or excessive consumption of alcohol or drugs by the mother during pregnancy can cause GDD.

- Environmental issues: Poor nutrition, trauma, lead poisoning, contaminated water, and physical abuse to the pregnant mother can cause a global developmental delay in the child.

- Poor nutrition for the child: Malnutrition can hinder a child’s normal development. Children who fail to get sufficient nutrition in their growing years would find it difficult to reach their developmental milestones.

- Medical conditions: Some medical conditions, such as low vision, illnesses, severe ear infections, and significant injuries, may also slow down a child’s development.

How Does Global Developmental Delay Affect Learning in a Child?

Children with global developmental delays take longer than average to learn new skills. It is because they may need more foundation skills that support learning. As a result, such children may take longer to learn than other kids their age.

Kids with GDD require constant additional support and favourable educational settings to learn. Positive and intensive support can help such children learn sooner.

It is essential to understand that every child suffering from global developmental delay will have disabilities different from other children suffering from the same issue. Therefore, the child requires a comprehensive assessment to ascertain his current skill set and his strengths and weaknesses.

Treatment of Global Developmental Delay

It can be disheartening and stressful for parents to see other kids pass various developmental milestones before their kids do. Sometimes, a child may outgrow his developmental delay and catch up with other kids without much intervention from parents or specialists. However, multiple support services, therapies, and treatments are available for children with GDD.

Early diagnosis and intervention can immensely help a child with GDD as a child’s brain changes and adapts best between the tender age of 0 to 3 years. The earlier the treatment is started, the more effective it is. Therefore, if you suspect your child may suffer from GDD, it is best not to ignore it and seek professional help immediately.

The treatment for GDD differs from one child to another and depends on the specific developmental milestones the child cannot achieve. For example, a child with a delay in speech development may be given speech and language therapy. In contrast, another child with a delay in motor skills development may be given occupational therapy.


A minor delay in achieving a developmental milestone is not a cause of concern for parents. However, if a child falls behind significantly on one or more of these milestones, it may be a sign of global developmental delay, and parents must seek the advice of a child specialist. Health insurance can help you take care of the costs of expensive medical treatments. We at Tata AIG bring you the benefits of health insurance in the form of our specially curated medical insurance plans, like the Tata AIG Medicare and Tata AIG Medicare Plus.

Disclaimer / TnC

Your policy is subjected to terms and conditions & inclusions and exclusions mentioned in your policy wording. Please go through the documents carefully.

Related Articles

Tata AIG Also Offers Insurance for the below products

Health Insurance

Two Wheeler Insurance

Car Insurance

Travel Insurance