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Global Developmental Delay

What is Global Developmental Delay?


Global developmental delay (GDD) is a term used when three areas of a child’s development are delayed and take longer to reach than other children of a similar age; cognitive and social skills, gross motor skills and fine motor skills. This presentation can be due to an underlying condition and tests can be arranged by a paediatrician to detect potential abnormalities. Signs of GDD include delayed milestones from all developmental areas (within the typical time frames as determined by normative data) – these could include delayed smiling, babbling, sitting and crawling, or struggling to use both hands to play with toys and pick up objects. Typically, a health visitor will refer your baby to the appropriate clinicians for further assessment of these three areas. A physiotherapist will assess gross motor skills, an occupational therapist will look at fine motor skills, and cognitive or speech development will be assessed by a speech and language therapist or specialist paediatrician.

Gross Motor Delay (GMD)

When your child presents with a delay in their gross motor skills only (large physical movements), this may be referred to as gross motor delay (GMD).


In babies GMD can present as follows:

  • Feeling floppy when held or moved

  • Difficulty dressing or nappy changing due to leg stiffness

  • Intolerance to tummy time

  • Inability to weight bear through shoulders and hips

  • Not holding head up by 2 months

  • Not rolling by 6 months

  • Not sitting without support by 9 months

  • Not crawling by 12 months

  • Not pulling to stand, cruising or walking by 18 months

  • Preferring to use one side compared to the other


In toddlers and younger children  GMD may include:

  • Difficulty jumping, hopping, skipping and running

  • Difficulties with throwing and catching

  • Difficulties riding a bike

Treatments at Ribble Valley Children's Physiotherapy for Global Development Delay

Our fantastic, expert and qualified team of therapists can help you and your child with therapies to address the specific area of delay which is affecting your child. At Ribble Valley Children's Physiotherapy your child will have an initial assessment with one of our physiotherapists. We will assess your child thoroughly and create a treatment plan tailored towards their needs.

Our treatment plans may include:

Functional play therapy

Whole Body Vibration Therapy

Dynamic Movement Intervention (DMI) Therapy

Advice regarding positioning

Advice regarding footwear and/or appropriate orthoses

Advice regarding exercise frequency and follow up frequency

Onward referral to the appropriate MDT (depending on presentation)

Get in Touch

Our team of specialist physiotherapists are experts in all aspects of physiotherapy for babies and children, and are here to help. Please do not hesitate to contact us with any of your questions or concerns. | 07519 354 998

Check out our competitive pricing and get in touch:

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