What is global development delay?

The term 'developmental delay' or 'global development delay' is used when a child takes longer to reach certain development milestones than other children their age.

This might include learning to walk or talk, movement skills, learning new things and interacting with others socially and emotionally.

Someone with another condition, like Down’s syndrome or Cerebral palsy, may also have Global developmental delay.

Global development delay and learning disability

For some people, the delay in their development will be short ­term and can be overcome with additional support or therapy.

In other cases the delay may be more significant and the child will need ongoing support. This indicates they may also have a learning disability. 


GDD is a commonly used abbreviation of global development delay

Speech and language development

"Hi there! My name is Jon and I’m a Speech and Language Therapist. I’m happy to answer questions about any aspect of speech, language and communication development that you might have."

Do you have a question about your child's speech and language development? Join other parents and ask Jon in our FamilyHub.

Go to FamilyHub


A diagnosis of developmental delay can be very confusing.

Getting an early diagnosis can help to ensure the right support is put in place as soon as possible, to help each person to reach their full potential.

It’s important to remember that every child is unique and will develop at their own pace.

Find out more about diagnosis

Getting the right support

Get in touch with us to see what support is available to you if you are the parent or carer of a child with a developmental delay.

You may also find it useful to take a look at the information and advice provided by the following organisations:

How to get the support you need

Contact Mencap Direct, our advice and support helpline, for guidance and information about what support we can offer you.

Or why not take a look at FamilyHub? This is our online community for parents and family carers of people with a learning disability, and is a place for sharing experiences, advice and support.

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