Frequently asked questions

The Child Mind Institute (CMI) is an independent nonprofit dedicated to transforming the lives of children and families struggling with mental health and learning disorders. Our teams work every day to deliver the highest standards of care, advance the science of the developing brain and empower parents, professionals and policymakers to support children when and where they need it most.

CMI is launching the Healthy Brain Network (HBN) initiative to provide the scientific community with a large online database of health information that can be used to improve the diagnosis of psychiatric disorders from an objective biological perspective. To this end, the database will bring together brain imaging, genetics, and biological samples with standardized psychiatric, behavioral, cognitive, and lifestyle information. This work will form the foundation for future efforts and will allow for possible long-term follow-up to help predict risk and outcomes.

One of the biggest hurdles in identifying and treating psychiatric or learning disorders in children and adolescents is that it can be difficult for a clinician to get a clear idea of what is going on with a child. And assessing response to treatment is problematic. The field of child psychiatry would benefit tremendously from biological diagnostic tests and measures of treatment response, similar to ones used in other branches of medicine.

Children ages 5-21 in the New York City metropolitan area.

Along with his or her legal guardian, each participant has 3 evaluation appointments – some may be done via video or phone conference, while others may require a visit to an evaluation center – and completes 1 visit to an MRI center. With multiple locations in the NYC area, all accessible via public transportation, there’s an option for everyone.  See our locations list for a complete list of centers, and to find ones that work for you.

This study consists of an evaluation of your child’s physical and mental health, as well as learning strengths and weaknesses. You will complete an initial screening questionnaire to rule out anything that might disqualify your child from participating. After your child has been cleared to participate, we will schedule an appointment for your child to take a brief fitness test, and complete questionnaires about emotions and behaviors, a computerized neuropsychological test, an IQ and achievement test, and an EEG. Some participants will also have the opportunity to participate in a magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scan. An MRI is a safe way of taking detailed pictures of the brain using a large magnet. There is no known medical risk associated with an MRI. The MRI can be loud, so participants wear special noise-cancelling headphones.

At least one parent is expected to be present at each visit with the participating child.  This parent is an active participant in the evaluation process via questionnaires and interviews throughout the duration of the study. You will be asked to provide informed consent on the first day of your child’s visit, which a member of our research team will walk you through. You also will complete some questionnaires about family health history and your child, provide information about your child’s behaviors and complete a diagnostic interview with a clinician.

Although each individual is different, we expect that the evaluation process will take approximately 12 hours to complete. It is completed in four visits to one of our locations.

In addition to receiving $100 ($75 for you and $25 for your child) a trained clinician will discuss the results of your child’s evaluation with you (see below). Those participants who attempt the MRI scan will receive an additional $50.

A few weeks after participation, you will have the option of receiving a detailed feedback session with a clinician in our offices. The clinician will review the results of your child’s evaluation and provide advice and treatment recommendations, if applicable. The clinician will also provide you with a referral for treatment in your community if necessary.  Families receive a report detailing their child’s results. This may be used to inform treatment and classroom instruction (504 plan/IEP).

All personal health information, including all test results, will be kept completely confidential and stored securely. All information collected during the study will be separated from participants’ identifying information such as name, birth date, and address. Data that are shared with research scientists are anonymous and will have none of your child’s identifying information included.

If you would like your family to participate in the program, the first step is to complete our online eligibility form to make sure your child is a good fit for the study. The online questionnaire will take you about 15-20 minutes to complete.

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