MRC Cognition and Brain Sciences Unit


The story so far

The doors of the clinic opened in October 2014. Recruitment has been unexpectedly easy, helped by the lack of local resources for thorough cognitive assessments for children with learning and behavioural difficulties. As of August 2017, 515 children have visited the clinic.



Each visit takes 3.5 hours and consists of a range of standard cognitive assessments in areas including attention, language, memory, executive function, and academic achievements. Accompanying parents / carers complete a range of questionnaires relating to family history, health, and behaviour.

A report is provided to the referring agent within 3-4 weeks of the assessment, which summarises the child’s strengths and weaknesses. This can be shared with the family and informs ongoing support.




At the time of the clinic visit, children and their families are asked if they would like to take part in the neuroimaging part of the project. To date 85% of those attending the clinic have agreed to do so in a separate visit to the CBU MRI facility. During this visit the children can familiarise themselves with the scanning experience using our mock scanner, and in a 1-hour session structural, DTI and resting-scans are conducted.

Over 200 children have completed MRI scans to date.


In February 2016 a second recruitment phase was commenced. Referrals are currently prioritised for children aged 6-12 years who either:

  • have a diagnosis of ADHD or are awaiting an assessment prior to a likely diagnosis, or
  • have significant difficulties with language that continue to the present, and that are being supported by speech & language therapy services either in the past or the present, or
  • have a diagnosis of OCD or display significant OCD-like symptoms such as intrusive thoughts and compulsive behaviours that have, or are, receiving attention from clinical services.

The purpose of these new referral criteria is to allow us to compare children diagnosed with attention, OCD and language problems from the large proportion of children with more general educational difficulties in the first phase of clinic recruitment up to February 2016.

For details of CALM publications so far please click here.

15 Chaucer Road Cambridge, CB2 7EF

Telephone: +44 1223 273654 or +44 1223 273762


© 2017 Cognition and Brain Sciences Unit. All Rights Reserved.