What practical measures can schools take to support children with global developmental delay?
What is global developmental delay?
Many questions cross the minds of parents and teachers. For instance, if every child is unique, at what point may I declare that my child has a developmental disorder? How can I tell if someone in my class has a developmental disorder? How would this impact the provision that our school provides? These are all worries and genuine concerns that teacher's and Sencos have to consider.
"Global Developmental Delay" or "Developmental Delay" is a word used to describe a child who falls behind other children of the same age in reaching developmental milestones.
Let's have a quick explanation about "development milestones" before we get into more detail regarding the term "global developmental delay."
The terms "development" and "growth" are distinct from one another. A child's growth entails increasing in size. It mostly refers to appearance. While "development" often refers to the complicated cognitive and physical skills that a child learns as they get older. Classroom teachers often find themselves in a unique position where they can spot the subtle signs of a undiagnosed learning difficulty.
Global development milestones
Children develop their abilities within these broad domains:
- Gross motor skills: employ the big muscles of the body to sit, stand, walk, etc. They assist the person in maintaining balance and shifting positions.
- Fine motor skills: are the hands' and fingers' ability to move, which enables a person to write, eat, draw, dress, etc.
- Language skills: help a person to interact with others and comprehend what they are saying via the use of both verbal and nonverbal communication. Include gestures and body language as well as the brain's capacity for comprehension, problem-solving, learning, reading, and thinking skills.
- Social skills: are the capacity for social interaction and connection building.
The phrase "developmental milestones" refers to a set of functional skills, or, alternatively, "age-specific tasks," that most children can perform at a certain age. The developmental milestones assist parents and other participants in observing and determining whether or not the child is growing at a typical rate. An age level is referenced by each milestone. However, every child is unique.
For instance, the child should be able to kick a ball by the age of two. This developmental ability may be mastered by one child at the age of two while it may be mastered by another child in the middle or at the end of the two-year-old stage. The necessary abilities can be mastered by each child at a different time.
That is a clear explanation of how growth and development differ from one another and it's useful to introduce the concept of "developmental milestones".
Let's now go more specific about the cognitive delay. As was already established, this occurs when a child has trouble mastering abilities in line with developmental stages.
An intellectual disability known as a cognitive delay impairs a child's capacity to learn and remember new knowledge.
Through many areas of development, there is frequently a delay. It could be a delay in verbal, social, motor, or cognitive development. Sometimes these might be a mild delay, such as parallel delays in the cognitive, language, and motor areas.
It refers to the time frame from the child's birth till they turn 18 years old.
A small percentage of the population—about 1-3 percent—has global developmental delays.
Identification of a global developmental delay
When and which tests can be utilised to detect a general developmental delay are key additional questions. So when should I raise a red flag and take care as a parent or teacher?
Prior to the age of five, the primary developmental delay appears, but it is still not assessed or properly diagnosed based on their age.
The majority of the examinations require for children to be around 6 years old.
When a child does not reach the expected developmental milestones and level of skill. Therefore, it can be a warning sign to seek a specialist if, for instance, the infant is between three and four months old and still does not react to loud noises.
Therefore, each developmental milestone should be explained to parents and teachers. They must be able to spot any developmental delays and observe them.
To detect general cognitive delays, some tests can be conducted:
- Cognitive test or IQ test: is employed to evaluate a variety of intellectual and cognitive abilities. The child must be at least 6 years old when it is carried out.
- The Diagnostic Interview: rely on gathering thorough and specific information from the parents or guardian on the child's developmental status, family history, and health conditions or injuries sustained during or after birth.
- Vineland-3: It depends: based on how you evaluate the ability to adapt. It includes communication, daily life skills, social skills, and motor skills that the child has learned.There are two forms: one is for the parents to complete at the time of the birth. When the kid reaches the age of three, the other form, which is for the teachers, can be completed.
- The Adaptive Behaviour Assessment System-3 (ABAS-3): This measures a child's lifetime of adaptive abilities beginning at birth. It includes determining whether there are physical impairments (e.g: hearing loss), learning disabilities, neuropsychological diseases, such as epilepsy and attention deficit disorders (ADD), and developmental disabilities such as Down's syndrome.
- Bayley-4: This examination measures preschoolers' cognitive, language, motor, social, emotional, and adaptive behavioural development in order to identify any developmental delays.
Causes of global developmental delay
Between the ages of 3 and 17 years, 17% of children suffer from global delays.
Typically, a global developmental delay develops before birth. However, in some circumstances, it may happen after birth as a result of harm, infection, or other factors.
It is not simple to list every factor that contributes to global developmental delay.
Here are a few examples of these causes:
- Maternal Infections: If the mother had an illness (e.g: head trauma) or infection during pregnancy, this could have caused infections to spread before or during delivery. This can lead to global developmental issues.
- Global developmental delay can be brought on by fetal alcohol spectrum disorder (FASD), genetic abnormalities, chromosomal abnormalities such Down syndrome and Fragile X syndrome, Autism spectrum disorder (ASD), myopathies, and cerebral palsy.
- If one of a child's siblings has autism spectrum disorder, the child may be more likely to experience global developmental delay (ASD).
- Low birth weight: If a child was born weighing less than 3 pounds, 5 ounces, or 1,500 grammes, the infant is regarded as having an extremely low birthweight. Premature birth, if the baby was born earlier than 37 weeks during the pregnancy. Multiple births occur if the mother is pregnant with more than one baby. All these types of birth may lead to global developmental delay.
- Jaundice (high levels of bilirubin in the blood during the first few days after birth) in a baby can cause kernicterus, which is damage to the brain, if it is left untreated. This may result in cerebral palsy, issues with their hearing and vision, as well as dental issues and a general developmental delay. Therefore, newborn screening is necessary to identify any issues.
The effects of global developmental delay in school
From an early age, a child's capacity to learn and master new abilities can be impacted by global developmental delays. This might result in quite specific learning difficulties. They can be struggling and experience difficulty learning even the fundamental abilities. They typically take longer than their peers to achieve goals and pick up new skills.
Some of these challenges include:
- Speech delays, such as having trouble pronouncing sounds, words, or meaningful spoken phrases.
- Having trouble controlling their breathing.
- Having trouble adjusting to new language abilities, which will cause a language delay.
- Issues with gross motor skills as well as having trouble remembering and sequencing physical movements.
- Having trouble navigating the object (e.g., picking something up, catching a ball).
- Poor pencil grip and slower writing speed can result from issues with the fine motors.
- limitations in spatial awareness (e.g., setting objects in the right position; confusing between directions)
- Problems with body awareness (e.g., respecting personal spaces)
- Some students with global developmental delay experience bedwetting because they have trouble managing their bladder's production of urine.
- Difficulty with copying and catching caused by poor eye-hand coordination.
- Even if the skills are physical activities, the child may need more time to master them since they are a slower learner.
- Inability to predict the results of one's actions inability to deal with new or uncomfortable circumstances.
- Difficulty interacting with others
- Difficulties carrying out daily tasks issues
- Poor memory and poor problem-solving abilities
Methods for supporting children with global developmental delays
Students who have overall developmental impairments typically require extra and extensive support to be able to learn at their own pace and be able to catch up.
Disabilities will affect a child who has a general developmental issue. Therefore, a comprehensive assessment is essential to identify the child's specific developmental challenges. Parents and participants will be able to identify the child's strengths and weaknesses after the assessments are conducted.
The child's brain is easily flexible and has the capacity to change the fastest and greatest between the ages of 0 and 3.
To maximise the benefits to the child, it is crucial to start early intervention.
Here are some strategies that parents and educators can use:
- Always let them participate in the activities and discussions.
- Create an individual education plan with input from all participants, with goals that are appropriate for the child.
- Improving children's academic, social, emotional, and health concerns through cooperative efforts with parents, teachers, and outside agencies.
- Allow additional time for tasks and tests
- Give the student more time to reply and comprehend the information.
- To make sure the youngster is aware of what is expected of them, ask them to repeat the instructions.
- Give instructions one at a time in straightforward language.
- Always consider a child's good characteristics and minor achievements
Use visual aids with children most of the time
- Always explain new concepts using modelling techniques
- The directions and procedures for the task should always be repeated several times.
- Provide the child with interactive tools so they may play and learn.
- Set a schedule and provide the child with a routine.
- Usually, you should make eye contact with the child, but you shouldn't press the child to look at you.
Support for children with a mild delay
Creating an effective dialogue between different professionals and stakeholders is key to building up an accurate picture and diagnosis. Depending on where your school is based, you might have access to developmental screening support. Undiagnosed diagnosed learning difficulties can plague a child's progress, and it's important to explore the history of a child. As well as consulting with your educational psychologist, these areas of support might prove beneficial.
- Occupational therapy(OT): aims to assist children in learning practical life skills. A child's fine and gross motor abilities are developed via OT. Focuses on improving hand-eye coordination, as well as social, emotional, and positive behaviour skills. Additionally, developing sensory and attention abilities
- Speech and language therapy: is essential to a child's language development. It helps children in developing better speech and language abilities so they can communicate more effectively. Additionally, it focuses on expanding vocabulary and using well-organized sentences when speaking. Additionally, practising listening skills
- Behaviour Therapy: Behavior issues including aggression, a lack of patience, or extreme irritation may affect children with global developmental delays. Behavior therapy is can be used to help the children deal with their difficulties and form good habits.
- Physical Therapy: Gross and fine motor skills are frequently a problem for children with global developmental delays. As a result, it's crucial to plan an early physical intervention to increase the body's muscle strength.
Concluding thoughts about developmental difficulties
It's important to emphasise the significance of early identification of global developmental delay. As a result, a suitable intervention can be planned to assist the child in overcoming their challenges. This article was intended to provide an overview of developmental delay. However, as was already indicated, each developmental milestone reached will determine whether or not the stage of maturation is progressing at the right rate. Overviews of the developmental milestones for each age group should be available to parents, teachers, and caregivers. Observe the challenges that each area of development faces as well.