For children, teens, and young adults
In my private practice, Ellen Braaten, PhD & Associates, my colleagues and I provide neuropsychological evaluations for children, teens, and young adults. Neuropsychological evaluations involve a comprehensive assessment of cognitive, academic, and socioemotional/behavioral functioning, and are an important tool for understanding your child's personal strengths and weaknesses, identifying diagnoses, and accessing appropriate interventions at school and in your community. My associates and I have expertise in assessing learning disabilities, attention and executive function challenges, information processing speed weaknesses, anxiety, depression, exposure to stressful life events, and intellectual and developmental disabilities. During the COVID-19 pandemic, both virtual and in-person testing is offered.
Ellen Braaten, PhD & Associates is located in Charlestown (Boston), Massachusetts. Our convenient location has parking and is close to public transportation (Orange Line), restaurants, and shopping.
If you are interested in having your child evaluated, please complete our parent referral form or contact us with any questions.
Hillary Bush, PhD
Dr. Hillary Bush is a licensed psychologist in Massachusetts (#10704), California (#33683), Rhode Island (#PS02043), and Connecticut (#4167), with expertise in child neuropsychological assessment, consultation, and brief intervention. She has been affiliated with Ellen Braaten, PhD & Associates since 2017. A Massachusetts native, Dr. Bush earned her BA at Wellesley College and PhD at the University of Massachusetts Boston. She completed internship training at the Indiana University School of Medicine and postdoctoral training at the MGH Learning and Emotional Assessment Program (LEAP). From 2017 to 2020, Dr. Bush served as a staff psychologist and faculty member at LEAP, and as an Instructor of Psychology at Harvard Medical School. Dr. Bush has published her research in top-tier academic journals, including the Journal of Autism and Developmental Disabilities and Child Neuropsychology. In addition to her assessment work at Ellen Braaten, PhD & Associates, Dr. Bush provides brief, structured, evidence-based therapy at Therapy Lab Kids, and she serves as an Associate Lecturer at the University of Massachusetts Boston.
Charles Cederberg, PhD
Dr. Charles Cederberg is a licensed psychologist in Massachusetts and licensed mental health counselor in Iowa. He recently completed a two-year postdoctoral fellowship in pediatric neuropsychology at the MGH Learning and Emotional Assessment Program (LEAP). He has been affiliated with Ellen Braaten, PhD & Associates since 2021. Dr. Cederberg has expertise in providing neuropsychological evaluations with children, adolescents, and young adults with diverse presenting developmental, medical, and psychiatric concerns. Dr. Cederberg earned his BA at North Park University in Chicago, IL, and MA in mental health counseling at Boston College. He subsequently worked as a mental health counselor in the Greater Boston area for approximately three years providing various therapeutic services and consultative services for schools until transitioning to his doctoral studies at The University of Iowa. During that time, he worked part-time as an accommodations analyst at ACT, Inc., gaining first-hand experience with high-stakes testing accommodations for students with disabilities in compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). Dr. Cederberg completed internship training at Johns Hopkins All-Children’s Hospital in Saint Petersburg, FL, specializing in pediatric neuropsychology and autism spectrum disorder assessment. He has published his research in journals such as Research in Developmental Disabilities, Gifted Child Quarterly, High Ability Studies, Archives of Clinical Neuropsychology, and Professional Psychology: Research and Practice related to twice-exceptionality, autism spectrum disorder, teleneuropsychology, and the intersection of professional psychology and commerce.
Nathan Cook, PhD
Dr. Nathan Cook is a licensed psychologist with expertise in pediatric neuropsychology. He specializes in neuropsychological assessment and rehabilitation for children and adolescents who have neurodevelopmental disorders, psychological health conditions, and acquired cognitive difficulties related to traumatic injury or critical illness. He has been affiliated with Ellen Braaten, PhD & Associates since 2015. Dr. Cook was born and raised in Massachusetts, and attended Bridgewater State College for his undergraduate degree. He received his PhD in clinical psychology at the University of Rhode Island and completed his clinical internship at Massachusetts General Hospital/Harvard Medical School. He then completed a three-year clinical-research fellowship in neuropsychology at Massachusetts General Hospital, Spaulding Rehabilitation Network, and Harvard Medical School. Dr. Cook is a staff psychologist at the MassGeneral Hospital for Children Sports Concussion Program, is appointed to the clinical and research staff at Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital, and is an Assistant Professor of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation at Harvard Medical School. Dr. Cook has an active research program related to pediatric neuropsychology, attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), concussion, and traumatic brain injury. He has published his research in highly regarded scientific journals including The Journal of Pediatrics, Child Neuropsychology, Journal of Developmental & Behavioral Pediatrics, and Journal of Neurotrauma.
Amanda Ward, PhD
Dr. Amanda Ward is a licensed psychologist with extensive training in neuropsychological, psychological and educational assessment. She also has expertise in working with young children and providing developmental assessments. Dr. Ward earned her bachelor's degree and PhD at Loyola University Chicago, where she also played Division I soccer. She completed internship training at Stanford Children's Hospital/Children's Health Council in Palo Alto, CA, as well as her postdoctoral training at the MGH Learning and Emotional Assessment Program (LEAP). Dr. Ward has been affiliated with Ellen Braaten, PhD & Associates since 2016. From 2016 to 2020, Dr. Ward served as a staff psychologist and faculty member at LEAP, and as an Instructor of Psychology at Harvard Medical School. Dr. Ward’s work has previously been published in journals such as the Journal of Pediatric Psychology, the Journal of Early Adolescence, the Journal of Racial and Ethnic Health Disparities and the Journal of Communication Disorders. She has presented at international meetings for the Society for Research in Child Development and the Society for Research in Adolescence, as well as the International Neuropsychological Society.
Darlene Maggio is the Volunteer Support Assistant at Ellen Braaten, PhD & Associates. She previously served as the Practice Manager of the MGH Learning and Emotional Assessment Program (LEAP). Before transitioning to healthcare in 2010, Ms. Maggio worked for Delta Airlines for 28 years where she served as Operations Manager and oversaw sales productivity at a 1,200-person call center in Boston. Ms. Maggio also worked for a small, sustainable designer rug company in Boston, overseeing a sales force, coordinating sales, and planning trade shows. She lives in the Boston area and when she is not at work, enjoys spending time with her family and dog Roki, a very friendly and energetic Boxer.
Services We Offer
Rates effective January 2022
Rates are for in-person testing at our Charlestown, MA office; please inquire for rates for off-site and international evaluations.
Our comprehensive neuropsychological assessments broadly measure cognitive functioning, academic functioning, and socioemotional/behavioral functioning; we include additional measures, as needed, to fully address your questions about your child. Our assessment fee includes a virtual parent interview, in-person testing with your child, communications with health professionals (as necessary, to complete the evaluation), preparation of the written report, and a one-hour virtual feedback session to talk about your child's results. The written report and feedback session are provided within about one month of the testing day.
Range: $350-425 per hour
Services above and beyond the scope of the neuropsychological evaluation are billed at our hourly rate, in 15-minute increments. Such services include, but are not limited to, preparing letters and report addenda, and attending special education meetings.
Dr. Braaten's associates are available to conduct focused assessments with the WISC-V or WAIS-IV, which yield a Full Scale IQ score (FSIQ) and general information about your child's cognitive functioning. Brief assessments of this nature are most often requested for independent school admissions. A written report and brief feedback session are provided within about one week of the testing day.
What is a neuropsychological evaluation?
A neuropsychological evaluation will provide you with important information about your child’s cognitive, academic, and socioemotional/behavioral functioning. An evaluation can be especially helpful in the following situations:
You want to better understand your child’s personal strengths and weaknesses
You are seeking diagnostic clarity around your child’s difficulties and help developing an intervention plan
Your child is preparing for the next step in their education (for example, applying to high school or college)
Your child was evaluated previously, and you want to measure their progress and response to intervention
Your child was evaluated previously, and you are seeking a second opinion
What is the evaluation process?
Once your evaluation appointment is confirmed by our administrative staff, your clinician may contact you to schedule an initial interview (conducted virtually) with you and/or your child. This is followed by the testing day, which is 4-6 hours long. If you did not already speak to your clinician, they will mostly likely spend the first 20 to 30 minutes of the testing day speaking with you. Testing is usually completed over a single day, although if necessary, we can split testing over two days. With your consent, your clinician will collect data from your child’s teacher(s) and treatment team. About one month following the testing day, your clinician will share a written report with you, and will schedule a feedback session (conducted virtually) with you and/or your child.
Do you accept insurance?
We do not bill insurance companies directly for any services, nor do we communicate with insurance companies about our evaluations. If you would like to use your insurance benefits, we encourage you to contact your insurance company to learn about your out-of-network benefits. Upon completion of the evaluation, we will provide you with a paid invoice, which you may submit to your insurance company for partial reimbursement, if applicable.
What should I bring to the testing appointment?
Please dress comfortably and bring snacks and water for your child (as there will be many opportunities to take breaks during the day!) You may either bring lunch or buy a quick lunch nearby (e.g., Whole Foods, Starbucks). Adults are encouraged to bring books, projects, and electronics (free, secure Wi-Fi is available). Please note that masks are necessary on our premises; if needed, we will provide these for you and your child.
How should I talk with my child about the evaluation?
We encourage you to talk with your child openly and honestly about the evaluation process, and why you think it is important. During your initial interview, your clinician can provide additional guidance around having these conversations. Instead of telling your child that they will be playing “games” (which you can win or lose, and usually are fun), we encourage you to call the testing “activities” (which you cannot win or lose and are more interesting than they are “fun”). We advise against “surprising” your child with the evaluation. Many children do well when they have a reward or special outing to look forward to, after testing.
We encourage you to talk with your child about the results of the evaluation in an honest, age-appropriate manner; at a minimum, we encourage sharing information about personal strengths. In the case of learning differences, many children are relieved to know the results of their evaluation, and that their struggles have an explanation. Depending on your child’s age and developmental level, they are encouraged to participate, at least in part, in the feedback session. Your clinician will provide additional guidance, specific to your child’s situation.