Vanderbilt Kennedy Center

What is a MRI scan like?

We've put together a small presentation to help explain what an MRI scan is like from the perspective of our participants. This may be helpful for both parents and future participants. Click here for the booklet

Checklist for Day of Scan

Please use this checklist as a checklist for all the things to consider on the day of your child's scan.

Need more information about the MRI?

We have more information about the MRI on this page . You can find information about what the scanner looks like, what your child will do during the scan, as well as practical considerations as well. If you have any questions, please feel free to email us .

What does the MRI scanner sound like?

While the MRI is taking pictures, the scanner makes strange noises. We've made a recording of different types of noises our participants may hear during a scan. We hope this recording is useful in preparing children to have the best scanning experience possible. Click here to listen to the MRI Scanner

Tips/Suggestions for use:

To introduce the MRI to your child, first go to link/PDF of the presentation found on this page. Read this aloud to your child.

Then, to mimic the real scan environment, it would be ideal to play these sounds for your child using headphones, preferably while lying alone on a bed, sofa, or floor. The child may watch a video/cartoon (with sound muted) while listening to the recording. Have your child practice lying very still/quiet (especially head) for 15 minutes (or as long as possible) while listening to the sounds. Restart sounds as needed throughout the block of time. Then, each time you practice increase the time 5 minutes to work gradually up to holding still and listening to sounds for 30 minutes.

It may also help your child if you make a game out of trying to “name” the sounds using familiar objects/machines (e.g. that noise sounds like a washing machine, that one sound like the fire alarm at school, etc.) – ask, “what do you think that sounds like?”

In our experience, playing the sounds in this way, a couple times a day, for a couple days in a row before your scheduled visit, may greatly reduce anxiety during the real scan.

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