Global Developmental Delay (GDD) is the diagnosis given to children showing significant delays in their cognitive and physical developmental delays. It is an umbrella term which is often associated with Intellectual Disability (ID), Developmental Disability, and Failure to Thrive (FTT). GDD is treated primarily through early intervention services. These services help to target these developmental issues faced by these children to improve their quality of life.

Such early intervention services include:
Occupational therapy
Speech therapy and audiology
Psychological and Behavioural therapies
Physical therapy

Depending on the needs of the child, they may require the help of other services to target other conditions or disabilities they may have.

Occupational therapy – learning to live within their means.

A characteristic of those with GDD is that they display difficulties with gross and fine motor skills. Occupational therapists are able to help children develop better fine motor skills so they can grasp and release toys and develop good handwriting skills. They are also able to address hand-eye coordination, helping the child improve their play and school skills. Due to the limiting nature of their disability, children with GDD often feel frustrated or angry. Occupational therapy can help kids with GDD internalise and maintain positive behaviours in various different environments, and teach them how to regulate their socially inappropriate behaviour. Furthermore, children with GDD may also present with poor social skills and judgement. Therefore, occupational therapists are able to work with kids who have sensory and attentional issues to improve focus and social skills

Speech therapy and audiology – giving the child a voice.

GDD can result in delays or difficulties with communicating using language. Speech therapy can benefit the child as it aims to improve their speech and language skills, as well as oral motor skills. For those children who are able to talk, the therapist may work on making their speech clearer of building their vocabulary, teaching them to speak in longer sentences, or improve their listening and comprehension skills.

Behaviour Therapy – actions speak louder than words.

Those with GDD have to cope with their disability from early on in life. As a result, many of them will develop negative behavioural traits, such as aggressive behaviours, poor tolerance, excessive frustration, or episodes of out-of-control anger. Behaviour therapy aims to correct antisocial and inappropriate behaviour by reinforcing and praising good behaviour, ignoring certain behaviours in an effort to not reinforce the behaviour, and developing consequences for other behaviours. Through therapy work, children with GDD will obtain the support and care that they need while learning how to function as a productive member of society.

Physical therapy – working it out together.

Children with GDD often show delays and difficulties mastering their fine and gross motor skills. As such, it is ideal for them to undergo physical therapy from an early age to enable them to develop and achieve important skills. In this manner, the child can start to build their motor abilities gradually and will learn to be physically independent and can better navigate their physical and social environments.

How can Nurture Pods help?

School Shadow Support Programme

This aims to help the child adapt to their school environment as well as develop appropriate social skills and behaviours in school. This programme also helps to build a positive learning environment and boost your child’s independence.

Centre for Child Development and Early Intervention

We work towards helping your child with special needs to gain independence by carefully tailoring a programme that works with each child’s strengths. This programme includes developing your child’s social, logical, self-regulation, fine and gross motor skills.

Home Intervention Programme

Based on the fundamentals of Applied Behavioural Analysis Therapy, this service provides individual attention to the child, thus bringing about better learning and quicker development of skills. This program attends to a broad range of skills that include behaviour management, cognitive skills and communication.


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