Frequently Asked Questions

About the study...

What do we get out of participating in the study?

Families receive summary reports of the neurocognitive assessments, interviews, and questionnaires that are completed as a part of the study. Additionally, members of our team who have decades of experience working with children meet and interact with every family and are available to answer questions and make referrals as needed. 

As a thank you, each participating child receives a $100 honorarium! Children also earn “Girl BAND” dollars throughout the study that can be redeemed for prizes or gift cards.

What is involved in the study?

The study contains three basic components.

1. Comprehensive cognitive and behavioral evaluation for the child.

2. NIRS and MRI neuroimaging scans for the child.

3. In-person interviews and online questionnaires for parents/caregivers. 

What costs are covered by the study?

For eligible families, the costs of travel and lodging for the duration of the visit will be paid by the study. 

For all families, the costs of food for the duration of the visit will be paid by the study. 

How much time is involved?

For this study, 4 annual “visits” take place either at Stanford, in your home, or remotely.

Year 1: Initial 2-3 day visit at Stanford.

Year 2: Our researchers will come to your home for 1-2 days.

Year 3: Return 2 day visit to Stanford.

Year 4: Remote visit with online questionnaires and phone interviews. 

What is the first step?

The first step is to get in contact with our research team so we can set up a phone-screening interview to evaluate whether your family is a good fit for our research study! You can contact us at or by filling out our survey at

About the MRI...

Why is the MRI machine noisy?

The MRI machine has very strong magnetic coils in it. When the machine is on, the coils vibrate, making a loud noise. This loud noise is normal and it’s nothing to be worried about. You will also wear ear protection during your scan, which will make the experience a little bit quieter and also protect your hearing.

What should I wear to my MRI scan?

Wear clothes that are easy to change out of! We will give you a brand new pair of medical scrubs and souvenir socks on the day of your MRI. This is so that we can make absolutely sure that you don’t have any metal in your outfit—no zippers, no metal jewelry, and no glitter. It’s not a good idea to have metal near the big magnet in the MRI scanner. 


If you have long hair, try to wear it in a style that will allow you to lie comfortably on your back—high ponytails and buns can be uncomfortable. It’s fine to have your hair down, too. Just remember, no bobby pins or hair clips!

Why is it so important that I stay as still as possible during my MRI scan?

When you take a picture with a regular camera, it will be blurry if you don’t hold still. This is also true for a picture taken with an MRI machine, except the MRI is even more sensitive to motion than a regular camera, so it’s extra-important to stay as still as possible.

About NIRS scan...

What is NIRS and how does it work?

Functional Near-Infrared Spectroscopy, or NIRS, is a type of brain scan that uses near-infrared light. This type of light appears red and is not harmful to the body. During the NIRS scan, your child will wear a cap that contains small lights and sensors. Researchers look at the information from the lights and the sensors to understand which parts of the brain are being used during different activities.

Will I feel anything during my fNIRS scan?

The near-infrared light is just like light from a flashlight or a lamp—you can’t feel it and it’s completely safe. Sometimes the fNIRS cap, which looks a little like a swim cap, can be a little bit uncomfortable because the emitters and detectors have to be in direct contact with your scalp. However, most people find it okay (or even like a nice scalp massage) and you won’t be wearing the cap for very long. If you have long hair, it’s best to leave it down or in a low, loose ponytail or braid so that the cap can fit correctly. Before your scan a researcher will measure your head to make sure we use a cap that fits you, and you will be able to adjust the strap if it’s too loose or too tight. You can also tell the researcher anytime you want to adjust the cap or take a break. 

What kinds of activities will I be doing during my fNIRS scan?

Your scan will be less than an hour and we will ask you to play some games and talk to a researcher.

This all sounds like a lot of work, what do I get out of it?

We know that this is a lot of time and effort for you, and we value your hard work! You will get a $100 honorarium at the end of your visit as a thank you for participating. We also have special “girl BAND dollars" that you will earn throughout your time here. You can trade these in for lots of different prizes while you are here, and of course we also have snacks!

Will I have fun?

This is the question that we get the most, and the short answer is—yes! Our past participants have had a lot of fun during their visit and some have even come back to see us again later! While you are here, we have lots of breaks with fun things like iPad time, coloring, playing games, going on walks around Stanford, or playing with slime! 

One of our girls saved up all her Girl BAND dollars and got an Amazon giftcard as her final prize!