Thank you for visiting our MRI procedure page. To prepare you and your child for the MRI procedure, we’d like you to get ready for your visit by doing the following things at home:

About MRI (for parents)

Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) is a safe neuroimaging technique used by researchers to take pictures of human brain to understand its structure and functions. MRI is non-invasive and does not use X-ray or radiation.

The MRI scan will take place at the University of Connecticut Brain Imaging Research Center on the UConn Storrs campus. The duration of the MRI scan is approximately 1.5 hours per person. Your child’s needs (such as time required to get comfortable and to set up) may differ from what is listed here.

After successful MRI training, you will be asked to participate in the MRI portion of the study. This is a specialized examination of the head, which will create pictures of the structure and function of the brain. The MRI scan involves lying on a table, then being slid into a large tunnel. The MRI scan uses a magnet to make images (pictures) of the brain. No X-rays or radiation is involved. Except for the loud noise that you will experience in training, there is no sensation of any kind. You will be given hearing protection. While in the scanner, you will be asked to perform a short task. In this task you will be asked to identify pictures and words, and push a button.

It is very important for people to stay very still during their MRI. Just as photos from a camera can come out blurry when the objects in the picture move, brain pictures will be blurry if there is movement during the MRI. The photos by an MRI take much longer to take though! Each one will take about 5-10 minutes. Below are some things you can do at home to help your child practice staying still and help make the MRI experience an exciting success!

You can also read the free eBook Pluto and the MRI Rocket Ship Adventure with your child.

Watch the Get Ready for Your MRI video with your child:


Listen to the MRI sounds with your child

Here are the sounds that the machine makes. Some of the noises are loud, but they are a normal part of the scan. We suggest that you listen to all the sounds with your child so they know what it sounds like to be in the scanner. The machine is quite loud—please play at a high volume level.

    • Mixed sounds
    • Intro to structural MRI
    • Structural sounds
    • Intro to functional MRI
    • Functional sounds
    • DTI sounds


Practice wearing earplugs

To protect you from the MRI sounds, and to let you hear movies and games in the MRI, you will need to wear foam earplugs. If you have disposable foam earplugs at home, have your child practice wearing them before the MRI.


Play the Statue Game

The Statue Game helps children practice staying still during an MRI. The game is quick and easy to play at home. You’ll need a timer and space to lay down. You can also give your child stickers or other small tokens for each interval that they stay still. Here’s how to play:

Explain the game to your child:

When you have an MRI, it is really important that you don’t move. This includes all the parts of your body, but most importantly, your head. The MRI will take lots of pictures of your brain. If you move, the pictures will be blurry and we won’t we able to see your brain later! You can pretend to be a statue during the MRI. Remember that statues don’t move! Are you ready to play the statue game and see how long you can stay still?

Have your child lie comfortably on the floor. Place the tips of your fingers just above your child’s ears, so that you can feel any head movement.

The aim of the game is to keep as still as possible. This includes your whole body. If you move, I’ll tell you and we’ll start again. First we’ll see how still you can be for one minute!

Set a timer for one minute. If your child moves during the minute, remind them to stay still and restart the timer. Repeat for three minute and five minute intervals.