Neurofibromatosis 2 (NF2) is an autosomal dominant disease characterized by bilateral vestibular schwannomas and other nonmalignant tumors of the brain, spinal cord, and peripheral nerves. Although the average age of onset of NF2 is 20 years, some individuals may become symptomatic in childhood. We studied 5 unrelated NF2 patients who became symptomatic before age 13. All 5 had multiple tumors in addition to vestibular schwannoma, and none had a positive family history. Sequence analysis of the NF2 gene revealed identical nonsense mutation of exon 6 in 3 patients. Because this mutation destroys a restriction enzyme recognition site, genomic DNA from the 2 other children was directly tested for this change and identical alterations were detected. Although the work of our laboratory and others has not, in general, detected identical mutations in unrelated patients, this mutation seems to occur particularly frequently in the pediatric population and thus may be associated with an especially severe phenotype. Restriction analysis in children with NF2 may be a cost effective way of identifying their mutation. Further work is needed to characterize the effects of this change on the NF2 protein product and its relationship to this severe phenotype.