This study evaluated a large sample (N = 90) of 5- to 7-year-old children with hydrocephalus caused by aqueductal stenosis or prematurity-intraventricular hemorrhage or associated with spina bifida. Comparison groups of normal controls, children with spina bifida and no shunt, and premature children with no hydrocephalus were also evaluated. Comparison of skill discrepancies at two occasions separated by 1 year revealed that hydrocephalic children, as a group, showed poorer nonverbal than verbal skills on measures from the McCarthy Scales of Children's Abilities, the WISC-R, and composites of neuropsychological skills. No discrepancies in verbal-nonverbal memory were found nor were any discrepancies attributable to etiology or motor demands of the tasks. Consistent with current hypotheses concerning the role of the cerebral white matter in cognitive development, these results show that hydrocephalic children in this age range generally have poorer development of nonverbal cognitive skills relative to their language development.