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The Stages of Life

Individuals with spina bifida can lead very active lives, work, socialize, get married, have children and find fulfillment in a broad range of areas. While each individual is different, children with spina bifida can be expected to go through all of the same developmental stages that children without spina bifida do. However, they may experience additional challenges directly related to the type of spina bifida that they have and the severity of their impairment.

Spina bifida is not a progressive condition and does not worsen as an individual ages. However, the health issues faced by a person with spina bifida tend to vary with age. What is common in a young child may not be prevalent in an adult with spina bifida and the impact of these health issues is not the same throughout the lifespan.

The stages of development for a child with spina bifida can be broken down into age groups beginning with birth and continuing into adulthood. Just as all children learn to walk and talk, go through puberty and experience a growing need for independence at different ages, so do children with spina bifida. Thus, some physical and emotional developmental areas overlap and blend and there is no measuring stick for developmental success.