Ellen Braaten, Author at MGH Clay Center for Young Healthy Minds

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.

COVID-19: Mental Health Check-In – Shrinking It Down

March 26, 2020

By

COVID-19: Mental Health Check-In – Shrinking It Down

Life as we know it has changed since our last episode. Concerns, disruptions, and uncertainty surrounding the new coronavirus disease have affected us all. While we can’t immediately change this public health crisis – though we can do our part by staying home if we’re able! – we do have the power to change how […]

Is Your Teen an Emotional Sponge? – Shrinking It Down

February 26, 2020

By

Is Your Teen an Emotional Sponge? – Shrinking It Down

Peers can be an excellent source of social support, and it’s great that more young people today talk to friends about their emotional challenges. But for every teen who shares, there’s another teen absorbing the info like an emotional sponge. And while it feels good to help a friend, it can also feel overwhelming – […]

Extra Time on Tests: Does It Work? – Shrinking It Down

January 29, 2020

By

Extra Time on Tests: Does It Work? – Shrinking It Down

The answer is, it depends. When “extra time” on tests first began decades ago, the goal was to level the playing field for students with learning disabilities by allotting them the same amount of time that everyone else had. Today, it seems every parent thinks their kid could benefit from extra time on tests, and in […]

New Year 2020: We Can Manage This!

December 20, 2019

By

New Year 2020: We Can Manage This!

Tune in wherever you get your podcasts. Just search for “Shrinking It Down.” Did you know? According to a recent Clay Center survey, six out of 10 parents encourage their kids to adopt New Year’s resolutions. To bring in the new year (and decade!), we’re dedicating our last show of 2019 to strategies on guiding […]

What Is A Nonverbal Learning Disability?

November 13, 2019

By

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

By

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

By

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

By

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

By

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

By

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 […]