Behaviour change


  • Many children will show a change in behaviour at times associated with changes in home/school circumstances, adolescent development and ill health.

  • Most changes in behaviour will not be caused by brain tumour.

  • Most changes in behaviour will not be persistent (i.e. occur on most days over a period of time) or pervasive (i.e. occurring in multiple environments e.g. home/school/holiday).

  • Most children with a change in behaviour associated with a brain tumour will have other symptoms/signs - these should be looked for carefully.

Behaviour changes caused by a brain tumour:

  • Are expected to occur persistently – routinely over days or weeks

  • Are expected to occur pervasively – across all settings, such as at home, at school, at play, on outings or visits away. Any child with a persistent behaviour change, particularly lethargy, should be seen by a doctor.

The most common change in behaviour caused by brain tumours in this age group is lethargy (severe tiredness and reduced energy levels). Signs of lethargy include:

  • Reduction in activity levels, and spending more time resting

  • Lack of enthusiasm or desire to participate in activities that they had previously enjoyed, across a variety of activities and in different environments

  • Becoming tired or fatigued more readily or quickly than they used to

  • Falling behind or progressing more slowly at nursery

For more information for health care professionals

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