BACKGROUND AND PURPOSE: White matter structural alterations and the correlation with neuropsychological deficits in children with hydrocephalus have not been well investigated. In this prospective study, the objectives were the following: 1) to apply DTI to detect in vivo white matter alterations based on diffusion properties in children with acute hydrocephalus, 2) to quantify early neuropsychological deficits, and 3) to explore the correlation between potential neuropsychological deficits and abnormalities in functionally related white matter. MATERIALS AND METHODS: A total of 44 children, 24 with hydrocephalus and 20 controls, were enrolled in the study. DTI indices, FA, MD, AD, and RD, were evaluated in the gCC, sCC, PLIC, and ALIC. The ABAS-II was used as a broad screener of development, including conceptual, social, practical, and motor skills. The correlation between the Motor Scale and DTI indices in the PLIC was analyzed. RESULTS: DTI analyses showed that the gCC and sCC in children with hydrocephalus had lower FA and higher MD, driven by the increased RD with statistical significance (P < .05) or trend-level significance (P = .06). The PLIC and ALIC had significantly higher AD in children with hydrocephalus (P < .05). On the ABAS-II, parent ratings of general adaptive skills, conceptual skills, and motor skills were significantly lower in children with hydrocephalus (all at P < .05). The MD and RD values in the PLIC were found to have trend-level or significant correlation with the Motor Scale (P = .057, .041, respectively). CONCLUSIONS: DTI reveals alterations in the white matter structure in children with hydrocephalus with preliminary findings suggesting correlation with clinical motor deficits.