Adoption = Brain Scan, No Cats

So, Friday we went for a CT scan for the girl. Hopefully this will give us more information about what’s going on in her head (literally).

She’s always had academic difficulty, and last year we held her back to repeat second grade. It was the best thing we could have done for her learning; through the first part of third grade, she excelled. She exhibited pride in her work and seemed infinitely happier than we’d ever seen her. Once the class moved past reviewing second grade information, though, she’s had a lot of trouble grasping new concepts.

We have some additional concerns (confusion and tremors, for example), so the doctor sent us for a CT. Actually, the pediatrician, CT tech and her manager all agreed that what we actually need is an MRI, but insurance will only pay for the MRI if we do the CT first. Evidently the MRI is more expensive and they want to know that we’ve exhausted all other options. Never mind exposing a 10-year old to more radiation than necessary.

Not knowing how much of her academic struggle is a result of RAD or defiance, and how much is a result of possible missed connections in the wiring of her brain has been very frustrating. If a child has a brain deficiency, you can’t fault her for not being able to do school work. If a child is pretending not to know how to do something simply to get attention or be oppositional, that’s a completely different issue.

Either way, she’ll need something, but the remedy will be different.

If there’s a problem with her brain thanks to any number possible of factors (bio-mom’s drug habit, pre-natal difficulty, problems during birth, etc.), we’ll likely be looking at additional therapy, more help in school, stricter adherence to routine and checklists, as well as a bigger dose of patience. We won’t allow her to use it as a crutch–in fact, if there’s something wrong with her brain, we don’t plan to tell her–but knowing there’s a weakness, we’ll give her some leeway.

If her brain is running fine with perfect wiring, we’ll rely more on behavior modification and work harder on practicing the concepts that she appears not to cotton. If it’s RAD, she responds very well to tighter boundaries and expectations, because they give her a level of security. She knows how far she can go. As odd as this may sound, she likes to know there are consequences for her behavior.

However, we don’t want to give her consequences for something she can’t control.

Really hoping the tests will give us the answers we need. She needs.

Just a note: if your child needs a CT (aka Cat scan), you may want to prep for the absence of cats. She was somewhat disappointed there were no felines involved.


About Casey

Adoption = my life. I'm determined to give my kids the chance they deserve. Adoption isn't always easy. I promise, you're not alone in this. Join me at - we're in this together.

Posted on February 1, 2015, in Adoption, parenting and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 26 Comments.

  1. Bless her heart — she thought a CAT scan involved cats. I had to chuckle at that. I sure hope, if there is something wrong that the CAT scan will find it. You and your husband must be in a very precarious postion not knowing and trying to raise her/discipline her to the best of your ability and whatever is the best for her. I wish you all the Very Best!!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. sounds like you are doing all the right things! 🙂 will look for your follow-up post.


  3. You may want to ask your doctor about a mild sedative for the CT or MRI. I can’t recall how long the CT of the brain takes, but the MRI takes a long time and you’re stuck in a coffin-sized space. Many people freak out and if your kid has past trauma, this could trigger it.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks–definitely planing to sedate. That was actually the reason, three years ago, they decided not to do the MRI, just treat with OT as if we’d had one, since she had obvious deficits. She absolutely benefited from the OT, but we still have concerns, so I’m hoping the doctor will agree to do it this time. Neurology appointment Wed morning… to be continued…


  4. Hoping for the best possible outcome for your child. Glad you’re taking the stance of instilling responsibility and accountability for your child when it comes to school work. It starts at a young age and oftentimes I see kids who are quick to take on new concepts fall into apathy and laziness. Like you we held back our middle child in Kindergarten (he did two years) and the maturity helped with school work. Best to teach our kids how to succeed through their hard earned efforts.


  5. Best wishes with everything. Love conquers all problems and you guys seem to have a house full of love.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. My 4 year old sister had the same thing – she needed a CT, and she heard the doctors talking about her “cat scan” haha thankfully, the peds unit at our hospital has elected to go for cat-themed wallpaper, so she was just like “oh I thought they’d be real”

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Oh, how I giggled about no cats at a CAT scan! It is so true! Praying that all is revealed. And for patience and strength and patience and wisdom and patience. 😉 Let us know!

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Good luck – hopefully the scan will have a definitive outcome & you can avoid the MRI. One way or another, I hope you have an answer sooner – it’s always better knowing than not

    Liked by 1 person

    • I agree. My greatest fear is “missing” something. Our son had a heart defect (I’ve mentioned in other posts, so you may already know) and if I hadn’t read every page of his medical history and noticed a page seemed to be missing (a follow up appointment), the cardiologist said there would have been a good chance of death in his late teens. I’ve always joked that God created me with an addiction to reading. That particular time, it really paid off.
      I’m so glad to have the tests done now–it would be awful if, for instance, she was in high school and we found out she’d had something physically wrong all that time.

      Liked by 2 people

      • very true – it would be awful for her if there was a physical issue, and the assumption was made that that it was all psychological.
        And it is so important to stay on top of all medical test results, discussions, decisions. Doctors & hospitals are increasingly pressured by the insurance industry to put quantity over quality in order to meet the correct pricing scales. It’s placed so much more of the burden on patients & families.

        Liked by 1 person

  9. I pray that the CT scan reveals answers that you are able to work with to help her achieve her best! That hopefully she won’t need the MRI too.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. I hope you get the answers you are looking for!

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Hope it’s the best possible outcome. Tell your daughter that I worked in a hospital for ten years and I always was sad there were no cats in the CT scan area, too.

    Liked by 1 person

  1. Pingback: UPDATE: Adoption = Brain Scan, No Cats Part 3 | Adoption =

  2. Pingback: Adoption = Brain Scan, No Cats Part 3 | Adoption =

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