Language of hydrocephalic children and adolescents

J Clin Exp Neuropsychol. 1987 Oct;9(5):593-621. doi: 10.1080/01688638708410771.


How adequate a substrate for the development of language is the young hydrocephalic brain? To answer this question, the development of five language domains (word finding, fluency and automaticity, immediate sentence memory, understanding of grammar, and metalinguistic awareness) was studied in children and adolescents, 75 with hydrocephalus in the first year of life, and 50 normal controls. The results revealed a limited resilience of language to the effects of early hydrocephalus. Resilience was indicated by the finding that, for several language skills, hydrocephalics scored at comparable levels to normals and improved their test performances as they matured. The limits to resilience were also apparent. Language development was not uniform after early hydrocephalus, and, within particular language domains, hydrocephalics were either less skilled or less able to maintain age-appropriate skill mastery than normal peers. Early hydrocephalus had diverse effects on language development: Of the variables measuring its forms, manifestations, and treatments, some were indicative of preserved language functioning while others were predictive of language deficit. The young hydrocephalic brain mediates language development in a manner that is adequate, but far from ideal.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Age Factors
  • Brain / pathology
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Hydrocephalus / pathology
  • Hydrocephalus / psychology*
  • Language Development
  • Language*
  • Linguistics
  • Male
  • Memory, Short-Term
  • Semantics
  • Speech