India Waiting Child: 3-1/2 Year-Old, “Miranda”
“Miranda” is a beautiful 3½-year-old girl. She has minor cerebral palsy and hydrocephalus with unknown etiology operated with VP shunt and has multiple brain infarcts. She appears to be doing better and has improved since her surgery.
Although “Miranda” initially had an injury to the brain she is able to sit, walk, and speaks many words with meaning. Her adaptive hand functions are good. She eats with her own hands. Her understanding is almost age-appropriate for her age. She is a very happy and active girl who loves to smile and play with other children.
The name hydrocephalus is derived from the Greek words “hydro” meaning water and “cephalus” meaning head. So, it is a condition where there is an excessive accumulation of fluid in the brain. This “fluid” is cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) — a clear fluid that surrounds the brain and spinal cord. The pressure of the fluid against the brain tissue is what causes this disorder.
There are two types of hydrocephalus:
- Congenital: Present at birth, caused by events during fetal development, or genetic abnormalities.
- Acquired: Develops during birth or afterward. This type can affect individuals of all ages and causes may include injury or disease.
What causes Hydrocephalus?
The causes are still not well understood. Possible causes include:
- Inherited genetic abnormalities
- Developmental disorders (such as those associated with spina bifida)
- Complications of premature birth
- Traumatic head injury
What are the symptoms of Hydrocephalus?
In babies, the clear indication of this disorder is a rapid increase in head circumference or an unusually large head. (The infant skull can expand to allow for the spinal fluid because the joints that connect the skull haven’t closed yet.) They may also experience vomiting, fatigue, irritability, deviation of the eyes and seizures.
What are the treatment options for children with Hydrocephalus?
The most common treatment is a shunt system. The shunt is a plastic tub that is surgically inserted and diverts the flow of spinal fluid to another area of the body where it can be absorbed. But there are lots of potential complications with shunt systems (mechanical failure, infections, obstructions, over draining or underdraining.) This is one of the main reasons we are advocating for “Miranda” to be matched with a family as soon as possible, their need requires regular and consistent follow-up and there are many resources available for hydrocephalus within the United States.
What is the outlook for children with Hydrocephalus?
The most critical piece that affects the outlook for a child with this disorder is early treatment by a team of medical professionals. If this is the case, children can benefit from therapies and interventions and go on to lead lives with few limitations. But hydrocephalus can harm cognitive and physical development and left untreated, progressive hydrocephalus can be fatal.
What complicates the outlook is that many children with this disorder also have other special needs. Hydrocephalus can cause motor disabilities due to the brain damage that results.
Would you join us as we pray and advocate for “Miranda” to be matched with a forever family?
The following organization provided information for this post and offer support to children with hydrocephalus: