Autism and Global Developmental Delay (GDD): How Do They Differ?
As a parent, it can be overwhelming to try to understand all the different types of developmental delays that your child could potentially have. You know that something isn’t ”right,” but it might be challenging to understand what exactly is going on and how each diagnosis differs from the other.
For example, you may have recently been told that your child is experiencing either autism spectrum disorder (ASD) or global developmental delay (GDD). While both disorders affect social and cognitive growth, there are some critical differences between them.
We know that this can be a confusing time for parents receiving any diagnosis – so today, we will aim to shed light on autism and GDD, helping you gain more insight into your child’s condition.
What is an autism spectrum disorder (ASD)?
Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is a neurodevelopmental disorder that affects how a person communicates, interacts with others, and processes information.
ASD is typically diagnosed in early childhood, and early intervention can help improve outcomes for children with ASD.
While there is no cure for ASD, many treatments can help manage symptoms, including applied behaviour analysis (ABA) therapy.
It’s important to note that every person with ASD is unique, and the challenges they face can vary widely. Having ASD does not mean a person is less intelligent or capable than others. With the proper support and understanding, people with ASD can lead happy and fulfilling lives.
What is global developmental delay (GDD)?
As any parent knows, watching your child develop and learn new things can be the greatest joy in life. But when a developmental delay is present, it can bring both confusion and worry. Global developmental delay (GDD) is a term used to describe physical and mental developmental delays that are more severe than what would typically be seen within the general population. GDD affects many facets of growth and overall functioning, making understanding this disorder even more critical for the parents of children diagnosed with GDD.
Children with GDD may struggle with language and communication skills, such as understanding spoken language or expressing themselves. They may also have delays in gross motor skills, such as crawling, walking, or running, or in fine motor skills, such as grasping objects or using utensils.
The causes of GDD can vary and may include genetic factors, brain injuries, infections, or environmental factors. Treatment for GDD typically involves early intervention services, such as speech therapy, physical therapy, and occupational therapy, to help children catch up in areas where they are delayed.
Differences between autism and GDD
Autism and global developmental delay (GDD) are two different developmental disorders that can affect children.
Autism is a neurodevelopmental disorder affecting a person’sperson’s ability to communicate, socialise, and interact. Individuals with autism may also have restricted and repetitive behaviour patterns, interests, or activities. The symptoms of autism typically appear in early childhood, and the severity of the disorder can vary widely.
Global developmental delay, on the other hand, is a broad term used to describe a condition in which a child has significant delays in two or more areas of development, such as language, cognitive skills, social skills, or motor skills. GDD is often diagnosed in children under five and can be caused by various factors, including genetic abnormalities, brain damage, or environmental factors.
The main difference between autism and GDD is that autism is a specific developmental disorder with well-defined symptoms. At the same time, GDD is a more general term to describe a range of developmental delays. Children with GDD may or may not have autism, but they may have delays in areas such as speech, motor skills, or social skills that are not characteristic of autism.
It is important to note that autism and GDD are complex conditions that can present differently in different children. Therefore, a proper diagnosis and early intervention can be crucial for children with either disorder to receive appropriate support and treatment.
How ABA therapy can help children with autism
Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) therapy is a widely recognised and evidence-based intervention for children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). ABA therapy uses positive reinforcement and other behaviour modification techniques to teach children new skills to increase desirable behaviour.
ABA therapy can help children with autism by:
Building communication skills. ABA therapy can help children with ASD develop and improve their communication skills by teaching them to express their needs and wants using appropriate language or communication methods, such as sign language or picture exchange systems.
Teaching social skills. Children with autism often struggle with social interactions, such as making eye contact, initiating conversations, or taking turns. ABA therapy can teach these social skills in a structured and individualised way to help children improve their social interactions.
Reducing problem behaviours. Children with autism may engage in challenging behaviours, such as tantrums, self-injury, or aggression. ABA therapy can help reduce these problem behaviours by identifying the triggers and teaching children more appropriate ways to express themselves.
Improving academic skills. ABA therapy can also help children with autism improve their academic skills, such as reading, writing, and math, by breaking down complex tasks into smaller, achievable steps.
Enhancing daily living skills. ABA therapy can teach children with autism crucial daily living skills, such as personal hygiene, dressing, and grooming, to help them become more independent.
How ABA therapy can help children with GDD
ABA therapy can also benefit children with Global Developmental Delay (GDD). Since GDD is a broad term used to describe a condition in which a child has significant delays in two or more areas of development, such as language, cognitive skills, social skills, or motor skills, ABA therapy can help address specific areas of need for each child.
Here are some ways in which ABA therapy can help children with GDD:
Teaching important skills. ABA therapy can help children with GDD learn new skills and behaviours, such as communication, play, self-care, and academic skills. The treatment is tailored to each child’s specific needs and can be adjusted as the child progresses.
Improving socialisation. Children with GDD may struggle with social interactions and communication. ABA therapy can teach socialisation skills and help children develop appropriate social behaviours, such as turn-taking, sharing, and making eye contact.
Fostering Independence. ABA therapy can help children with GDD become more independent by teaching them self-help skills, such as dressing, grooming, and feeding themselves.
Helping children become ready for school. ABA therapy can help children with GDD prepare for school by teaching them academic and pre-academic skills, such as letter recognition, counting, and pre-reading.
ABA therapy can be tailored to meet the individual needs of each child with GDD. It is typically a long-term intervention requiring ongoing monitoring and adjustments to ensure effectiveness.
Nevertheless, ABA therapy can give children with GDD the tools and skills they need to succeed and reach their full potential.
It is imperative to be aware of the differences between autism and global developmental delays if you are looking for a professional diagnosis. In these moments, knowing what can go behind the diagnosis is critical. ABA therapy has become a popular approach for treating individuals with autism. However, the efficacy of global developmental delay can vary depending on the severity and cause of the disability. Understanding this difference in approaches allows us to make more informed decisions regarding treatment plans.
Furthermore, while therapies may not be able to cure or eradicate developmental delays and autistic disorders, they can aid in increasing an individual’s ability to cope and lead a meaningful life.
To help you make an informed decision on the type of therapy your child needs, please schedule a consultation with us today, or call +65 6456 9950.