Evidence of cognitive visual problems in children with hydrocephalus: a structured clinical history-taking strategy

Dev Med Child Neurol. 1999 May;41(5):298-306. doi: 10.1017/s0012162299000675.


Damage to the occipital cortex in children can result in many complex disorders of cognitive visual function. A series of clinical questions, developed from the specific problems of a cohort of children with cortical visual impairment, was asked of the parents of 200 children with no history of cerebral pathology, aged 5 to 12 years. One hundred and ninety-two parents gave reliable consistent responses. The results show a progressive improvement in performance with age, culminating in few 11- and 12-year olds having frequent problems, apart from 8% having frequent difficulty with orientation in new surroundings and 2% having problems with simultaneous perception tasks. The parents of 52 children (aged 5 to 17 years) with shunted hydrocephalus were then asked the same set of questions. Evidence of cognitive visual problems was identified in 27 of these children of whom 16 manifested multiple difficulties. The disabilities identified by our study comprised problems with: shape recognition, simultaneous perception, perception of movement, colour perception, orientation, object recognition, and face recognition. The range, nature, and combinations of these disorders are presented in this paper.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Cerebrospinal Fluid Shunts
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Cognition Disorders / etiology
  • Cognition Disorders / psychology*
  • Cognition*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Hydrocephalus / complications*
  • Hydrocephalus / psychology
  • Hydrocephalus / surgery
  • Male
  • Medical History Taking / methods*
  • Size Perception
  • Space Perception
  • Vision Disorders / etiology
  • Vision Disorders / psychology*
  • Vision, Ocular*
  • Visual Perception*