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2021–22 Autism Scholar Award

2021–22 Autism Scholar Award

The Autism Scholars Award recognizes outstanding researchers working to establish novel treatment options and services for children with autism. Adding to Ontario’s scope of diagnosis and assessment, along with the quality of its treatment system, the award supports innovative ideas with the potential to positively impact the lives of families across Canada.

This year’s recipient of the $20,000 Doctoral Award is Carly Albaum, a PhD student at York University. Focused on better understanding the conditions that lead to positive results in psychotherapy, Albaum’s project describes the parameters that allows mental health interventions to be successful for children on the autism spectrum.

The Autism Scholars Awards Program is funded by the Council of Ontario Universities to ensure that the province continues to promote cutting-edge scholarship into autism, a condition that, according to the Public Health Agency of Canada, affects 1 in 66 children.

Carly Albaum, York University
Carly Albaum’s research investigates the impact of different components of psychotherapy in the achievement of successful treatment outcomes for children with autism. Centred on improving our understanding of why certain children benefit from psychological treatment, while others do not, Albaum’s important work outlines the standards that allows mental health interventions to be effective for all youth with autism.

photo of carly albaum

Carly Albaum

Concerned with process elements common to treatments across different types of therapy, Albaum’s study hopes to elucidate exactly who benefits from psychotherapy and why. Interested in the care of those with social and communication difficulties, Albaum’s study examines factors such as the role of parents in supporting youth involvement in therapy sessions, or the relationship between client and therapist in order to enhance the mental health of children on the autism spectrum, children often unable to fully engage in psychological interventions.

Providing new insight into how processual components are related to specific treatment results, Albaum’s study translates theoretical knowledge into more effective practices and services. Helping to inform mental health care providers of the most compelling therapeutic methods, Albaum’s ground-breaking research aims at ensuring that all youth with autism, along with their families, can benefit from psychotherapy.

Carly Albaum is a doctoral candidate in the Clinical-Developmental Psychology Program at York University. She received her Bachelor of Arts with Specialized Honours, as well as her Master of Arts degree from the same institution. Albaum’s undergraduate thesis focused on expressed emotion in parents of children with autism, while her Master’s project examined therapeutic alliance in cognitive behaviour therapy for children on the autism spectrum.

Carly’s interests in positive psychology aided the completion of her clinical training at the Toronto District School Board, and at the Shaw Clinic, Child & Family Services at Mackenzie Health Hospital. She continues to be actively involved in advancing the mental health of her community, as well as the standards of scholarly excellence in the field of autism research.