If you have noticed—disability—any kind—often occurs in individuals between the age range of 0-18. There are few cases of people getting disabled when they are 20 and above. While disability does occur in people at 20 and over, the frequency isn’t quite significant.

Unknown to many, there is a “global psychopathological disability” beyond the most common ones, which include visual disability, hearing disability, and physical disability. There is a category of intellectual and physical disabilities that are emotional, mental, and psychopathological.

What is developmental delay?

Developmental delay is when a child lags behind their peers in one or more areas of emotional, mental, or physical growth. If your child is delayed, early treatment is the best way to help them make progress or even to catch up.

There are many different types of developmental delays in infants and young children. They include problems with language or speech, Vision, Movement — motor skills, Social and emotional skills, and Thinking — cognitive skills.

What makes developmental delay global?

Sometimes, a significant delay occurs in two or more of those areas problems with language or speech, Vision, Movement — motor skills, Social and emotional skills, and Thinking — cognitive skills). When that happens, it’s called “global developmental delay.” It refers to infants and preschoolers up to age 5 who show delays lasting at least 6 months.

Developmental delay and Developmental disabilities

Developmental delay is different from developmental disabilities, which include such conditions as cerebral palsy, hearing loss, and autism spectrum disorder and which usually last for life.

Causes of Developmental Delay Causes, including Risk Factors

Little children learn to crawl, talk, or use the toilet at different speeds. But sometimes a child may reach those milestones much later than other kids. There are many reasons for such delays, including:

Being born prematurely and having genetic conditions like Down syndrome or muscular dystrophy.

Other causes include:

  • Poor eyesight or hearing
  • Malnutrition
  • Alcohol or drug use during pregnancy
  • Physical abuse or neglect
  • Lack of oxygen during delivery

Different types of delays

Language and Speech Developmental Delays

These are not unusual delays in toddlers. Language and speech problems are the most common type of developmental delays. Speech refers to verbal expression, including the way words are formed. Language is a broader system of expressing and receiving information, such as being able to understand gestures.

Possible causes. A variety of problems may cause language and speech delays, including:

Exposure to more than one language — which can cause mild delays in toddlers but not delays by the time they reach school age

A learning disability


Child abuse or neglect

A problem with the muscles controlling speech — a disorder called dysarthria

Hearing loss, which may occur in children who have severe middle ear infections or occur as a result of certain medications, trauma, or genetic disorders

Autism spectrum disorders — a group of neurological disorders that may involve impaired communication as well as impaired social interaction and cognitive skills

No cause can be found.

Managing global developmental delays

It is not the end of the world for sufferers of global developmental delays.

The specific management of children with global developmental delay will depend on their individual needs and underlying diagnosis. Early intervention is essential to support the child to reach their full potential. Specialists involved in the management of GDD in children include:

  • Speech therapists
  • Physical therapists
  • Occupational therapists
  • Hearing specialists (Audiologist)
  • Developmental pediatricians
  • Neurologists
  • Providers of Early Intervention Services (depending on location)

As well as involving professionals, parents can support the development of your children by playing with them, reading with them, showing them how to do tasks, and supporting them to participate in activities of daily living such as washing, dressing, and eating.


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Adegoke, Raji (Raji Ade Oba) is a visionary Deaf writer and scholar. Naturally a people person, his philosophy is grounded on the belief that everyone has immense worth and capabilities, and in that light, we should all possess full proof of our purpose and existence. Apart from being a scholarly writer, Mr. Raj also writes liberally on leadership, communications, personal/corporate development strategies, and mental health across various settings. With a knack for telling nerve-striking stories that reach our hearts, the rising author brings personal experiences of himself and persons’ to create writings that throw us into immediacy and allow us to pause for reflection as we marvel at our own earthiness, and just how do we fit in the larger scheme. Raji Ade Oba simply challenges us to aim for the top. He can be reached at ronnydean66@gmail.com +234 8188883329


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