Explore This Treatment Program

*As of 11/8/22, LEAP is only accepting new patient referrals from MGB providers submitted via Epic (referral order 11892). Established families seen at LEAP in the past can request a re-evaluation by calling 617-643-6010, option 2.

About this program

The Learning and Emotional Assessment Program (LEAP) at Massachusetts General Hospital provides neuropsychological evaluations to children and adolescents, ages 2 to 22. We specialize in the assessment of neurodevelopmental and psychiatric learning disabilities, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), autism spectrum disorder (ASD), anxiety, and mood disorders. Many children also have neurological or genetic conditions (e.g., seizures, tics, etc.).

Our evaluations provide a comprehensive and in-depth perspective on a child’s cognitive (thinking), emotional, behavioral, and social functioning, integrating information from parents, teachers, and standardized testing. We rely on our deep knowledge of child development and neuroscience to identify a child’s strengths and weaknesses. We aim to clearly communicate conceptualizations to parents and providers, and make practical recommendations about needed treatment and school supports. We are committed to equity and providing culturally sensitive evaluations.

Please note that LEAP currently only accepts referrals for new patients from within the MGB system. MGB Providers should submit referrals via Epic (referral order 11892). Established families who have been seen at LEAP in the past can request re-evaluation by calling our office at 617-643-6010, option 2.

Coming to LEAP

LEAP is located at 151 Merrimac Street, 5th Floor, Boston, MA 02114.

The front door to our building is locked 24/7. To the right of the door, you will see a silver call box with a touch-screen pad. Press Contacts, then scroll down and select LEAP Program. This will ring to our front desk, and we will buzz you in.

View our Universal Mask Policy

Per the Universal Mask Policy, hospital-issued face masks are required in all Mass General locations, including outpatient settings. When you arrive, patients and visitors over the age of 2 will be given a procedural or surgical facemask to wear for the duration of the visit.

View the MGB mask policy

View Directions and Parking

151 Merrimac Street is located on the corner of Merrimac Street and Staniford Street in Boston, approximately 0.5 miles from the Mass General Hospital’s Main Campus.

There is no parking at our building. We recommend parking in the MGH main campus garages, where you will pay the patient rate. It takes approximately 15 minutes to walk to our building from MGH. There is also a free shuttle service between the MGH main campus and Merrimac Street, which the Information Desk inside the main hospital can call for you (please allow 20-25 minutes for shuttle arrival). Please note that parking fees at nearby commercial garages vary vastly in prices, and we cannot validate for these parking expenses.

MGH Parking Office

Our building is accessible via public transportation. There are several nearby MBTA stations:

  • North Station (Orange Line/Green Line/Commuter Rail): 0.2 miles (~4-minute walk)
  • Haymarket Station (Orange Line/Green Line): 0.3 miles (~7-minute walk)
  • Bowdoin Station (Blue Line): 0.3 miles (~6-minute walk)
  • Charles/MGH Station (Red Line): 0.5 miles (~11-minute walk)
Photo of the exterior of the building where LEAP is located

Map showing Main Campus and LEAP location
View What To Bring
  • Current Individual Education Plan (IEP) or 504 Plan, if applicable. An IEP specifies academic services and accommodations that your child receives. It is reviewed once a year and contains goals and a service delivery plan. A 504 plan specifies academic accommodations that your child receives and is also reviewed once a year. It is helpful to us to see your child’s current IEP or 504 plan. This is different from the Progress Reports, which we do not need.
  • Most recent school evaluations, if applicable. Reports may include one or more of the following: Psychological Testing, Educational Testing, Speech-Language Evaluation, Occupational Therapy Evaluation, Classroom Observation. This is applicable if your child has ever been evaluated by the public schools, and/or if they currently have an IEP.
  • All previous test reports conducted outside the school system or outside MGB, if applicable. This is applicable if your child has ever been evaluated outside the school system or outside of the Mass General Brigham system (this could be by a psychologist, neuropsychologist, hospital clinic, speech-language therapist, or another provider).
  • Food. It’s a long day, please bring snacks and lunch for your child (there are also local options for purchasing lunch outside of our building). There is no cafeteria in the building.
  • Medication. Unless otherwise directed by your child’s neuropsychologist, your child should take medications as they always do. Call with any questions (particularly if you question whether their attention medication is helping).
  • Quiet activity. Your child may have some free time during breaks – please bring a quiet activity for them to engage in independently (for example, a book, iPad with headphones, etc.). Parents/guardians should also bring a quiet activity as they must remain on site for patients under age 18 and will often spend significant time in the waiting room. We have free public WiFi in our waiting room.
  • Glasses/Hearing Aid. If your child wears glasses or a corrective hearing device, please bring them.
  • Payment. Self pays or co-payments, if applicable, will be collected at the time of your visit. Payment may be made by credit, debit, FSA, or HSA.

Appointment Information (PDF)

Información de Cita (PDF)

Our Clinical Services

LEAP evaluations are a collaborative process that actively engages the patient, their family, and the referring clinician.

View LEAP evaluation and assessment services
  • Neuropsychological Testing. LEAP evaluations are usually completed in several steps:
    • Parent/Guardian Intake. During the intake session, the neuropsychologist meets with parents/guardians to discuss your child’s history and your presenting concerns. If available, parents/guardians will be asked to provide documentation of the following: 1) prior neuropsychological or psychoeducational (school-based) evaluations, 2) school accommodation or special education plans (i.e., 504 plan or individualized education program), and 3) relevant medical records (TBD).
    • Testing Appointment. Neuropsychological tests are specifically designed to measure cognitive (intellectual, language, memory, and executive function skills), academic (reading, writing, and math skills), social, and emotional skills that are linked to brain development. Tests are standardized so that the neuropsychologist can compare a child’s functioning to others at the same age or developmental stage to better understand a child’s strengths and weaknesses. Please note that academic testing is not covered by insurance; if needed, the neuropsychologist will discuss this during the intake session. Testing appointments typically last a few hours, and we strive to make all children and their families comfortable during this time.
    • Parent/Guardian Feedback and Report. The neuropsychologist will integrate information from the clinical interview, behavioral observations, standardized questionnaires that are typically completed by parents/guardians and/or school personnel, and test findings. and the neuropsychologist prepares a comprehensive report, which includes diagnoses, recommendations, and treatment strategies to help your child achieve greater success at school and at home. Several weeks after the testing session, the he neuropsychologist will then meet with the parents to review the findings and recommendations. Sometimes, feedback is also provided to the child. The written report will be provided to the parent/guardian and included in the MGH medical record.
  • Care Coordination. As needed, we report our findings and discuss effective treatment strategies with the child's teachers, school professionals, and/or mental health providers (therapists, psychologists, psychiatrists). Please note that school meetings are not covered by insurance.
  • Re-Evaluations. Re-evaluations can help to monitor a child’s developmental progress and response to interventions. In collaboration with treating providers, your child’s neuropsychologist can recommend a re-evaluation.
  • Consultation. Consultation services are available to established families who have targeted questions about their child’s progress. Consultation services are also available to providers within select MGB practices.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q. What should I tell my child prior to the testing session?
A. For young children, you might tell them that they are going to meet with a doctor to do some activities like the ones they do at school so the doctor can figure out how they learn best. For adolescents, you might tell them that they are going to meet with a doctor to do a variety of tests that will help the doctor to figure out how they learn best. It may be helpful to tell your child that they can’t study for these tests and that they aren’t expected to get everything right – they are only expected to try their best.
Q. Who gets the final report? Who will see the results?
A. A copy of the report will be provided to the legal guardian after the feedback appointment, and will also be posted in the child's electronic medical record at MGB.
Q. My insurance won't pay for testing, what should I do?
A. Self-pay is always an option for families. Please note that most insurance plans will not cover the cost of testing for learning disabilities. Please contact your insurance company directly if you have questions about your co-pay or deductible. Another option is to explore school sponsored testing (children are entitled to a free evaluation through their local school district) by contacting your local school district's special education department.
Q. Do you offer Educational Testing? Is there a fee?
A. Yes, we offer an Educational Testing service – which includes comprehensive assessment of reading, writing and math skills. Educational Testing is not covered by insurance plans, so we charge a flat fee of $1800 for this service. You and your provider will determine if Educational Testing is necessary. This discussion will take place during the parent/guardian intake interview (typically a virtual visit) and you will decide if you want to add this service to your Neuropsychological Evaluation appointment. Payment is due at the time of service.

Our Research

Research is an important component of the Learning and Emotional Assessment Program's (LEAP) mission. Each clinical evaluation yields valuable information, which patient can choose to share to help further LEAP's mission. These data can be used to answer scientific questions that have implications for the patients we see and are always privacy protected to ensure anonymity.

LOGIC Study

The cornerstone of LEAP's research initiative, led by Alysa Doyle, PhD, is the Longitudinal Study of Genetic Influences on Cognition (LOGIC). This project has allowed us to build a permanent but flexible research infrastructure at LEAP, including a database to organize our enormous repository of information and a mechanism that allows patients to contribute to research.

Through this study, patients allow us to use information collected from their assessments. Patients can also fill out additional questionnaires and provide DNA for genetic analyses. The fluidity between the clinical and research realms that LOGIC represents resulted in this project winning the 2014 hospital-wide Clinical Research Day Team Award at Massachusetts General Hospital.

To date, LOGIC has collected data from over 1,000 children and adolescents. We have used this information to publish papers and garner grants from various foundations and the National Institutes of Health. The questions we are interested in answering include:

  • What factors contribute to risk for further difficulties versus resilience/positive outcomes in children with learning and emotional concerns?
    • How does neuropsychological functioning play a role in risk and resilience?
    • Does neuropsychological functioning contribute to social, emotional, and behavioral problems?
    • Does social functioning contribute to emotional and behavioral problems?
  • What are the patterns of overlapping and distinct neuropsychological impairments across different learning and emotional disorders?
  • Can we capitalize on discoveries in the field of genetics to help future generations of patients?
    • Can emerging genetic information contribute to better models of how neuropsychological impairment and psychopathology develop?
    • Can understanding genetics help us better identify and support children and adolescents at risk for further difficulties?

This research infrastructure has also allowed us to develop collaborations across the hospital, including:

  • Understanding neuropsychological functioning in children with pediatric-onset multiple sclerosis
  • Developing a new measure to assess processing speed difficulties in youth
Research Plans

Our team aims to grow the baseline sample of LOGIC to data from 3,000 youth. A data set of this size with information about genetics, neuropsychology, learning and emotional problems will allow us to answer the questions above and learn more about conditions like autism spectrum disorder, ADHD, mood disorders, anxiety disorders and psychosis.

We also aim to launch the longitudinal follow-up of the LOGIC study. In this arm of the project, we will meet with youth enrolled in the study over time. This follow-up will allow us to learn more about why some children do well while others continue to struggle. Understanding different trajectories should also create new opportunities for early identification of those at risk.

Finally, we are using our database to train a new generation of clinical researchers. The Fellows who rotate through LEAP can develop or contribute to research projects relevant to the LEAP population. Papers currently under development include understanding sensory processing and social difficulties across a range of conditions.

Research Assistants

Depending on funding, full-time research assistant positions are often available for those who have completed undergraduate studies. Please direct any questions to Dr. Alysa Doyle, LEAP’s Research Director at doylea@helix.mgh.harvard.edu

Research Funding

We are grateful for the funding that has allowed us to grow our research program. We are particularly indebted to the Stanley Center for Psychiatric Research at the Broad Institute of Harvard and MIT for their ongoing support, as well as to the David Judah Foundation for helping us to launch our research program and to the National Institutes of Health (NIH).

Give Now


Our Staff

Our clinical professionals have devoted their training, research, and clinical practice to acquiring the specialized skills needed to assess children with learning disabilities, psychological disorders, and developmental disorders.

Leadership

Molly Colvin, PhD, ABPP, Director

Ellen Braaten, PhD, Executive Director

Alysa Doyle, PhD, Director of Research

Staff Psychologists

Michael Capawana, PhD, Director of Psychometric Training

Cara Cordeaux, PhD

Gina Forchelli, PhD, NCSP, Director of Postdoctoral Training

Jennifer A. Murphy, PhD, Co-Director, Child Psychology Internship

Kaycee Reese, PhD

Postdoctoral Fellows

Carolyn Cassill, PhD

Agnes Chung, PhD

Madeline Manning, PhD

Regan Summers, PhD

Neuropsychology Technicians (Psychometricians)

Olivia Baldi

Manuela Quintero Balbin

Administrative Staff

Sarah Mancuso, Group Practice Administrator

Megan O’Connor, Practice Manager

Abigail Ross, Patient Services Coordinator

Our Training Programs

Postdoctoral Fellowship Program

Our two-year postdoctoral fellowship in pediatric neuropsychology focuses on clinical training in assessment and the provision of feedback to parents, referring physicians, and schools. Fellows also provide tiered training and supervision to clinical interns and psychometrists. Training experiences and didactics can be tailored to conform with Houston Conference/Division 40 training requirements to support eventual board certification (ABPP) in clinical neuropsychology with an emphasis in pediatric neuropsychology.

While clinical care and training will be the primary responsibilities, LEAP has a well-developed and integrated clinical research program. Postdoctoral fellows will have the opportunity to collaborate on research projects without the need to secure their own research funding.

Positions are typically announced in the early fall, with an application deadline in early December. Applicants should have a doctoral degree from an APA/CPA-approved program in psychology, preferably in Clinical Psychology, although applicants from other programs will be accepted. Successful applicants will have prior experience in assessment and working with children/adolescents. Completion of the doctoral degree and an APA/CPA-approved predoctoral internship are required before the fellowship start date. Fellows hold clinical appointments in the MGH Department of Psychiatry and academic appointments in the Harvard Medical School.

Please direct any questions to Dr. Gina Forchelli, Director of Postdoctoral Training, at gforchelli@mgh.harvard.edu.

LEAP Fellowship Ad 2023-2025

Internship

LEAP is a primary training site for the Child Psychology Track of the APA-accredited MGH predoctoral internship. Interns spend approximately half of their time engaged in evaluation services at LEAP. The Child Psychology seminar is also coordinated by LEAP. Please direct any questions to Dr. Jennifer Murphy, Co-Director of the Child Psychology Internship at jamurphy@mgh.harvard.edu.

Support

If you would like to support the work of the LEAP program, please contact the Development Office.

Give Now