Brief report: Methods for acquiring structural MRI data in very young children with autism without the use of sedation

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We describe a protocol with which we achieved a 93% success rate in acquiring high quality MRI scans without the use of sedation in 2.5-4.5 year old children with autism, developmental delays, and typical development. Our main strategy was to conduct MRIs during natural nocturnal sleep in the evenings after the child's normal bedtime. Alternatively, with some older and higher functioning children, the MRI was conducted while the child was awake and watching a video. Both strategies relied heavily on the creation of a child and family friendly MRI environment and the involvement of parents as collaborators in the project. Scanning very young children with autism, typical development, and developmental delays without the use of sedation or anesthesia was possible in the majority of cases.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1581-1590
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Autism and Developmental Disorders
Issue number8
StatePublished - Sep 2008



  • Autism
  • Children
  • MRI
  • Natural sleep
  • Sedation
  • Toddlers

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Developmental and Educational Psychology

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