Many countries pre-screen adoptable children with a CT scan or ultrasound of the head. These children are often labeled with a variety of “brain scan differences” while presenting as a child with normal and appropriate development for their age. What is a “brain scan difference” and what does it mean in the future development and potential for independent adulthood for a child? This can be a difficult question to answer. It is estimated that 25% of the population would show some sort of “difference” on imaging. This label can encompass mild deficiencies in white matter, evidence of early stroke or loss of oxygen at birth, agenesis of the corpus collasum, hydrocephalus, arachnoid cyst, benign external hydrocephalus or brain atrophy.
Assuming the scan or interpretation is valid, each diagnosis is irrelevant unless compared to the actual development of the child. The brain cannot repair itself but it does have a quality called “plasticity”. Plasticity allows the brain to form new pathways that can sometimes circumvent the damaged areas. In this manner, one child with a diagnosis and “horrible” brain scan can develop on a normal curve while another child with a fairly normal brain scan might struggle to meet developmental milestones.
It is important to SEE the child and not the diagnosis. We have many children, like Bozeman, waiting in our programs with Brain Scan Differences. We are happy to share their information with interested families!