Neurobehavioral outcomes in spina bifida: Processes versus outcomes
Fletcher, Jack M.
Ostermaier, Kathryn K.
Cirino, Paul T.
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We review neurobehavioral outcomes and interventions for children with spina bifida. Focusing on children with spina bifida myelomeningocele, we contrast historical views of outcomes based on comparisons across content domains (e.g., language versus visual perceptual skills) with a view based on overarching processes that underlie strengths and weakness within content domains. Thus, we suggest that children with SBM have strengths when the skill involves the capacity to retrieve information from semantic memory and generate material that has been associatively linked or learned (associative processing) and general difficulties on tasks that require the construction or integration of a response (assembled processing). We use a hypothetical case to illustrate the differences in content domains versus general processes and also identify interventions that may be effective in addressing some of the cognitive and behavioral difficulties experienced variably by people with SBM. We extend these general principles to a discussion of variability in outcomes and use data from a large sample of children with spina bifida to illustrate the basis for this variability.