Dr. Rachel Krahn
On Behavior
When a child falls off a bike and breaks an arm, parents know what to do.But when a child’s pain and distress are on the inside, it can be hard to know when to reach out for help.As a psychologist who specializes in working with children and families, I’ve heard many parents ask, “Is this behavior normal? Or is this just a phase?”It’s an important question to ask because depression and anxiety are more prevalent than many parents realize. The National Institute of Health has... more
Autism as an adult
When I tell friends I was recently diagnosed with autism, some of them scoff and call it nonsense. They say I function fine, that I smile, laugh and socialize; I’m a mother who’s active in the lives of her three sons; I’ve published two novels; and I have spoken publicly at conferences and schools across the country.In sum, I don’t fit... more
Decoding teens
"I try so hard, but my teen won’t talk to me.” As a therapist who specializes in working with youth, I’ve heard this statement a lot. Parents have said it with tears in their eyes and with desperation in their voices. Teens, when asked why they won’t open up to parents, often give vague and confusing answers, and it can be... more
Getting from Point A to Point B
It seems like the pace of life is increasing every day. While some of us may greet life in the fast lane with open arms, others are left struggling to acclimate quickly. Children with executive functioning problems (or other disorders, such as anxiety or ADHD) can face special challenges, particularly at school.... more
Should you help with homework?
It’s late afternoon and your children come home from school exhausted, weighed down like turtles by school bags full of homework.What do you do? Insist they do their homework? Of course!The best available evidence shows that the more conscientious children are about doing their homework, the better they do... more
When vision affects learning
When my son was in second grade, it became clear that he was struggling to read. Despite the fact that he was curious, loved to learn and seemed truly interested in reading, he appeared to be in need of special education. So he ended up in a special reading room. Unfortunately, after several months, his reading skills did... more
Invisible disabilities
The holiday season can be a magical time: Our kids get their first real break from school, and the days are filled with fun activities and traditions — and even trips to see far-flung relatives.But for families with children who have disabilities — a mental health or emotional or behavioral disorder, for example — a long holiday trip (... more
When bullying isn’t physical
Ruby was a bubbly 6-year-old who usually bounced out of bed in the morning, excited for a day at school with friends and Ms. Martinez, her cherished teacher. Ruby had attended a mind-boggling number of birthday parties since the beginning of the school year, and also had playdates with several friends from kindergarten who were now... more
First-year fine motor skills
Did you know that tummy time, crawling and side-sitting can actually help with your baby’s fine motor development?These basic movement patterns — and the postural control and stability needed to perform them — can affect skills later in life such as handwriting!What can you do to help ensure that your baby’s fine motor development... more
‘I’m NOT going to school today!’
Few parents escape the occasional hassle of having to nudge a sleepy child or irritable teen out of bed for school. But some kids flat-out stonewall, missing days or even weeks of essential education. As a psychiatrist who specializes in the treatment of children and adolescents, I hear many parents ask, “What’s wrong with my child... more
When your child’s behavior goes too far
Justin was really excited to be enrolled in a summer day camp. And his mom, Sophie, was happy that he was taking part in a quality parks and rec program in their community. Then came the phone call from the program director: Justin’s behavior at camp was unacceptable.It had begun on the playground on the second day of camp with... more
Surviving special needs
Let me start by being totally clear: I’m not pretending to have this all figured out. If I’m honest with you, there have been times when I’ve felt as if I was barely surviving. Certainly, I’ve cried more about my daughter’s life-threatening medical condition than I’ve cried about anything else. She has a rare genetic difference... more
Sensory toys!
Buying toys for kids with autism spectrum disorder can be tricky, especially when so many item are marketed as “sensory”or ASD friendly. Fortunately, local families have a special resource for guidance in this area: Creative Kidstuff — a local toy store with seven locations in the Twin Cities, plus online sales — has partnered with... more
Managing extreme outbursts
Jennifer, a mom of two, was standing at the kitchen counter, slicing an apple for her son, Michael, when she heard a horrendous banging noise coming from the other side of the room. She immediately turned around to see her son smashing the door of the refrigerator with a baseball bat.“Stop! Stop!” she screamed as she wrestled the... more
A STEM camp for girls
For parents of a child with a disability, it can be a challenge to find a summer camp that’s fun, rewarding and welcoming. “It’s so hard to find activities, especially for girls on the autism spectrum,” one mom told The PACER Center.PACER is out to change that. Every August for the past 14 years, PACER, located in Bloomington, has... more
Child care for your kid who has a disability
Q: Are all types of child-care centers required to accept children with disabilities? A: Yes. The Minnesota Human Rights Act requires that all public accommodations, such as child-care centers, provide access to their services to individuals with disabilities. Are child-care centers required to accept all children with... more
Parenting your typical child
It’s not always easy to have a sister or brother with a disability.But there are profound benefits: Siblings of children with disabilities are often more empathetic than other children.Loving someone with physical, mental or emotional challenges can lead children to learn kindness and caring. Siblings in this situation also may become... more
Is your young child being bullied?
Jennifer, a busy mom of three, wondered if something was wrong when her middle child, Ava, abruptly stopped talking about school.Ava, a first-grader, usually bubbled over with enthusiastic chatter about her friends and her adored teacher, Miss Garcia. Ava had started complaining about feeling sick just before it was time to go to... more
Learning despite delays
My daughter, Grace, came into the world as a micro preemie 11 years ago. Born at 24 weeks, weighing 1 pound, 6.2 ounces, Grace had a 66 to 80 percent chance of survival.She faced many medical challenges (as many preemies do), and she had lot of catching up to do. Our family faced some tough times, to say the least. It was... more