Articles by Ellen Braaten, Co-Director

Ellen Braaten, Ph.D. is co-director of The MGH Clay Center for Young Healthy Minds, and director of the Learning and Emotional Assessment Program (LEAP) at Massachusetts General Hospital. She is also an associate professor of psychology at Harvard Medical School. She is co-author of the book Bright Kids Who Can’t Keep Up, which was released in August 2014.

 To learn more about Ellen, or to contact her directly, please see Our Team.

What Is A Nonverbal Learning Disability?

November 13, 2019

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What Is A Nonverbal Learning Disability?

A nonverbal learning disability (NLD) is a syndrome that includes challenges in visual-spatial organization, nonverbal problem solving, and social skills. Despite often having strong verbal abilities, children with NLD have trouble understanding humor and adapting to new situations. In school, they generally have better reading skills than math skills, and they often struggle with writing skills and executive functions.  Challenges interacting and making good judgement calls in social situations are often considered part […]

Q+A: What’s Wrong With Our Daughter’s Mood?

October 9, 2019

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Q+A: What’s Wrong With Our Daughter’s Mood?

Question: What’s wrong with our daughter Maura? She just told us, “Sometimes I just feel like hurting myself.” Maura, a 13-year-old girl, came into my office because she told her parents, “Sometimes I just feel like hurting myself…I want to jump out the window or suffocate myself with my pillow.” Over the past few months, […]

Money + Mental Health: Supporting Young Adult Children, With Limits – Shrinking It Down

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Money + Mental Health: Supporting Young Adult Children, With Limits – Shrinking It Down

  If you’re a parent, you’ve likely spent time thinking about your child’s future after age 18. Whether it’s going to college, finding a job, finding an apartment – taking that first step towards independence is ultimately tied to…money! Where that money should come from is a complicated issue, and it’s not the same issue […]

Cognitive-Behavior Therapy: A Closer Look

September 18, 2019

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Cognitive-Behavior Therapy: A Closer Look

 Jenny was a 15-year-old high school sophomore who had suffered from depression for six months. Her pediatrician referred her to a psychiatrist, who prescribed Prozac for her depressive symptoms. However, the psychiatrist thought she might also benefit from Cognitive-Behavior Therapy  (CBT) because of the research showing that cognitive therapy used along with medication is more effective […]

How to Prepare for a Parent-Teacher Conference if Your Child Has ADHD

September 11, 2019

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How to Prepare for a Parent-Teacher Conference if Your Child Has ADHD

It’s that time of year again. Kids are back in school. Teachers are getting to know your child, and your child is adjusting to the routine of being a student. Is a parent-teacher conference far behind? If you’re the parent of a child with ADHD, these conferences can fill you with dread. You might wonder if your child is paying attention at […]

Q+A: What Is Separation Anxiety Disorder?

August 28, 2019

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Q+A: What Is Separation Anxiety Disorder?

My 4-year-old was just diagnosed with Separation Anxiety Disorder. What is it? You may already have guessed from the name of the diagnosis that separation anxiety disorder has something to do with the anxiety a child feels when separated from parents or caregivers. It occurs in its worst form when a child reaches school age, but […]

What Is Family Therapy?

August 21, 2019

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What Is Family Therapy?

Family therapy emphasizes the idea that a child lives and grows in relationship to others, particularly in relationship to members of his or her own family. There are many different family therapy approaches. They are too numerous to list here, but nearly all of them assume that the child’s “problem” doesn’t just reside with the […]

Q+A: Should I be nervous? My preschooler’s teacher recommended I have him evaluated for an anxiety disorder..

August 14, 2019

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Q+A: Should I be nervous? My preschooler’s teacher recommended I have him evaluated for an anxiety disorder..

My 3-year-old son Justin has been in preschool for five months and he won’t stay unless I sit in the classroom with him. His teacher told me today that this isn’t fair to the other children and that I need to get him evaluated for an anxiety disorder. How concerned should I be about her […]

Q+A: How Do I Find a Therapist for My Child?

August 2, 2019

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Q+A: How Do I Find a Therapist for My Child?

My child has anxiety and I’m looking for a therapist. How do go about finding a good one? This is an extremely important question, and while there are no absolute rules, here are some guidelines that can help inform your process: Word of mouth is often the best source of information. Pediatricians, school psychologists and […]

Trastorno de Ansiedad Generalizada

July 31, 2019

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Trastorno de Ansiedad Generalizada

Joyce de diez años siempre fue una niña un poco preocupada. Incluso a los dos años, ella parecía ansiosa devez en cuando, especialmente cuando su vida era un poco estresante. Una niñera nueva, una fiesta de cumpleaños ruidosa, o unas vacaciones podían causar nerviosismo y episodios de llanto, pero estos síntomas generalmente desaparecían rápido.   Las cosas cambiaron el verano antes de […]