So what’s the answer? Do all parents routinely give their child an MRI?
It’s just not that easy. Dr. Singh cautions by saying, “you just can’t start randomly doing MRIs on babies. That’s a bit aggressive and given the rarity of the disease, unnecessary. It would make more sense to take a more logical approach by working with the child’s pediatrician to watch the benchmarks of development. Some children are a little slower in developing. But if there is concern, starting by communicating with a pediatrician. If a pediatrician feels there are concerns, most likely he or she will consult a pediatric neurologist. In general, an MRI scan to evaluate a child simply because there are some mild delays in development would have a low probability of showing anything useful and would be expensive. An MRI is approximately $2,500 to $3,500 if the cost of sedation is included. Imaging has come a long way from the equipment we had in the 80s and 90s and that’s why so many cases were missed or misdiagnosed. But having this new equipment doesn’t mean we should abuse its capabilities.” But at what point does the parent become overbearing and at what point does the pediatrician listen more closely? In one case, a father in Virginia told his pediatrician he was concerned that his first child wasn’t walking by the age of one. The pediatrician responded by telling the father to relax because in some cases it takes up to 18 months for a child to begin walking. That same father had a third child who, at 15 months wasn’t walking or talking. He was concerned, but remembered the conversation with the pediatrician about his first son. Fortunately his wife, who has a master’s degree in education and an understanding of child development benchmarks, began to question their son’s inability to meet those benchmarks. She was sure their son was behind and insisted on further testing. Once again, the rehabilitation center tried to convince the parents that they were being a little overcautious. Still, they insisted. When the testing was done, their son was diagnosed with severe ACC. He was already three months behind and none of the medical experts could predict whether or not their child would ever walk or talk. Optimistically, everyone agreed he was diagnosed early enough to be able to maximize his potential to develop— whatever that potential. Sadly, ACC has its ranges of progress. What the ultimate outcome will be typically isn’t known until the child is about five years old.