The literature on the behavioural, emotional and social problems of disabled adults and children is now extensive and varied. Spina bifida children vary a great deal in their emotional and behavioural development but certain patterns of behaviour do seem fairly common, especially in those with hydrocephalus. Little systematic research has been done into the nature and extent of behaviour disorders in young spina bifida children but some data for the three year olds is available from the GLC survey and this can be compared with data from Richman et al. on non-handicapped children of this age. Distractability is characteristic not only of hydrocephalic children but of children with other kinds of neurological abnormalities. Loss of motivation and passivity may also occur if the intellectual demands made on a child by his teachers are either too low or too high. Social factors must also contribute to the adolescents difficulties.