Father backs new lifeline

A HEADTEACHER whose 17-year-old son lives with a brain illness is supporting a new book which aims to provide a lifeline to parents with loved ones suffering from the same condition.

A HEADTEACHER whose 17-year-old son lives with a brain illness is supporting a new book which aims to provide a lifeline to parents with loved ones suffering from the same condition.

Stowmarket teenager Robert Watts suffers from hydrocephalus, also known as "water on the brain''. In most cases the condition involves a build up of spinal fluid inside the brain and it is one of the most frequently seen problems in pediatric neurosurgical practices.

Robert's father Neil is a keen supporter of the Association for Spina Bifida and Hydrocephalus (ASBAH), which has published a new guide that gives parents a greater knowledge of hydrocephalus, and how it influences a child's development.

He was asked by the organisation to write the foreword for the book, giving an honest point of view of a parent whose child has hydrocephalus.


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Mr Watts, headteacher at Northgate High School in Ipswich and chairman of ASBAH Education Advisory Committee, said: "I am really behind the book. It is a wonderful idea and will really help parents.

"When Robert was diagnosed with hydrocephalus my wife and I had no idea what the future would hold, nor who to turn to for help.

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"What we needed was a helpful guide to the various aspects of hydrocephalus and the best ways of helping our child cope and succeed. The new guide deals with all this and offers a practical and useful guide based on hands-on research."

"Your child and hydrocephalus'' is a 100-page guide written by specialists from both the UK and United States specifically to help families with children who have hydrocephalus.

Published by ASBAH, it is a practical and informative guide that deals with both the physical and psychological effects of hydrocephalus.

The specialist research, presented in simple terms, covers a range of issues children and their parents face from the initial diagnosis. The sections also offer strategies and management techniques to help parents and carers as the child grows up.

Those with hydrocephalus find the effects of the disability will vary. There can be specific learning difficulties such as poor concentration, or problems with short-term memory, organisational skills and motivation. Sometimes, there can be subtle effects on co-ordination so that the child appears clumsy.

Andrew Russell, ASBAH executive director, said: "There is still much to learn about hydrocephalus. It can be mild or very disabling. It can also be stable or dangerously unstable.''

The 100 page guide is specifically written to help parents and healthcare professionals and combines the direct experience of young people and parents and high quality research, together with ASBAH's clinical and practical expertise.

"Your child and hydrocephalus'' is published by ASBAH and is available at £16.99 plus £2 postage and packaging, for professionals; and for families at £9.99 plus £2 postage and packaging. Telephone 01733 555988 or visit the website at to order a copy.

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