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Ages and stages

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Growth and development

There are many publications about the stages children go through as they grow and develop. This section does not aim to match or replace these. It is here just to remind you that:

  • There are natural stages that children go through in life.
  • Generally children become better able and better equipped to do more and more things as they get older.
  • Everyone is different: not all children will reach the same ‘milestone’ at the same time.

A child with hydrocephalus may progress at much the same rate as children the same age (their peers). There may be some subtle differences, or there may be very obvious differences. The differences may be few or many. Any difference can give a parent, carer or teacher cause for concern.

But, whatever the concern, it is worth stopping and thinking:

Stop and think

  • How much is this like / not like other people around the same age?
  • Are their actions (behaviours) more like a much younger child?
  • Do they just seem to get a bit behind then catch up?
  • Did it used to seem OK then they seemed to stop progressing at the same rate as their peers?
  • ·How well do they react to the rewards / disciplines used for other children?
  • How well are they fitting in at school?
  • Do they seem to play and co-operate in the same way as other children?
  • Is it a ‘one-off’ or does it happen all the time?

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Difference is ‘normal’

If asked, every parent, carer or teacher would find something to say about how a child is ‘different’. This is ‘normal’ since every person is unique. Everyone’s pattern of growth and development is unique too so we shouldn’t be too concerned when it doesn’t follow a strict path. Health professionals and educational experts involved in every child’s life are qualified to spot when a difference is outside what would ‘normally’ be expected. So, if you have asked yourself some of the questions above and you feel a bit worried, your first ‘port of call’ should be your GP, Health Visitor, Nursery Teacher or Teacher.

A child or young person with Hydrocephalus is likely to have other health professionals involved in their lives. These professionals may also be able to help work out if there is any real cause for concern. For example, some changes in a child’s thoughts and actions (behaviour) may come and go depending on their health or age. Others may seem more permanent and be less typical of a child their age. In this case, the child might need some extra help and support.

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Extra help and support

Extra help and support can some in many forms (e.g. financial, learning, physical aids, nursing). Knowing what a child is entitled to and when is often a complex process. The professionals involved in your child’s life should be able to help you when there is a recognised need. If you find that it’s all a bit too complicated SBHS may be able to offer some guidance about where to look and who to ask. Go to the Contact us page if you’d like to ask for guidance on a specific topic.

There can also be lots of day to day issues that don’t qualify for ‘professional’ help and support. These issues are no less frustrating and often upsetting. This website is designed to help tackle some of the problems that people with hydrocephalus and their families see in everyday life. Dip into the Living with Hydrocephalus pages to see if there are issues you recognise.

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We might not like it, but some ‘behaviours’ are also ‘normal’

Human beings change as they go through life. There are physical changes that can be seen and changes that happen to our internal organs including the brain. As the brain grows and develops thinking and acting (behaviour) changes too.

There are changes that happen in the brain early in life and through the teenage years that are linked to noticeable changes in behaviour. Most people are familiar with the ‘terrible twos’, ‘toddler tantrums’ or ‘teenage strops’. At around these times the brain is going through lots of growth and change. Children and young people are learning lots of new skills and generally move on to a different stage in life. Going through these changes, or transitions, will be easier for some than others. It can be more or less noticeable. Families, carers and teachers will find it easy or difficult to support young people through these transitions. While there are ‘ball park’ age ranges for these transitions, it’s not exact. There is lots of variation.

Children and young people with hydrocephalus may naturally show some of these behaviours at around the same times. They too will show lots of variation. You may be worried that a three year old with tantrums or a grumpy teenager behaves that way because of their illness.

This might be true in part but it’s also important to think about the questions above again particularly:

  • How much is this like/not like other people around the same age?

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How to deal with upsetting behaviours

This site has been designed to offer hints and tips to deal with all kinds of behaviours that families, carers, teachers and friends can find difficult and upsetting. Dip into the Living with Hydrocephalus section. You’ll find links to pages that give information and examples that are designed to help you understand why a child or young person with hydrocephalus behaves the way they do. They also help you to think about things that you can do with your child to help.

Even if the behaviour seems ‘normal’ for a child or young person’s age, you might find some handy tips in the Living with Hydrocephalus pages, particularly Knowing how to behave.

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