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Research Team

Our research team consists primarily of clinical-developmental psychology trainees (including Ph.D. and M.A. level students, and post-doctoral fellows) and research trainees (including research associates, coordinators, assistants, undergraduate thesis students, and volunteers). All lab members are supported by the York Research Chair in Autism and Neurodevelopmental Disability Mental Health.

I am interested in how families best adapt to and support children with neurodevelopmental disabilities. For my master’s thesis, I studied how parenting, parent mental health, and the parent-child relationship are impacted when parents of autistic children are involved in their child's therapy. For my dissertation, I am interested in coping and wellbeing in parents and caregivers of autistic children.

My graduate work has broadly focused on intervention and predictors of change for children and families with and without neurodevelopmental conditions.  My dissertation research examines the effect of child, parent and environmental factors on change in coping skills for autistic children who receive CBT; for my Master’s  thesis, I examined predictors of autistic children’s enjoyment of mindfulness and computer-based activities across CBT-based treatment sessions. Other work includes predictors of trauma-informed care adoption for child welfare workers serving juveniles in residential treatment settings, and of coding knowledge change for children in low-income communities, following participation in classroom-delivered digital game pedagogy.

I am interested in how youth with developmental disabilities experience wellbeing and manage mental health challenges. My master’s thesis investigated associations between child autism characteristics, parent co-regulation, and observed emotion dysregulation in autistic youth. For my dissertation research, I am exploring how youth with intellectual disability experience wellbeing (thriving), and the relationship between wellbeing constructs (social, emotional, and psychological wellbeing) and mental health problems.

My current research interest includes investigating treatment interventions to improve the mental health and wellbeing of children and youth with neurodevelopmental disabilities. My master’s thesis examined clinician factors related to the delivery of psychotherapy for autistic youth compared to youth with ADHD.

I am interested in understanding the factors that contribute to well-being for individuals with developmental disabilities and their families. My Master’s thesis aims to understand the links between ecological resources (e.g., environmental supports and caregiver responsiveness), mental health problems, and thriving among youth with intellectual and developmental disabilities. I also intend to explore how COVID-19-related stressors are associated with mental health problems among these youth, and if thriving buffers this association.

My current research interests include investigating the role of families and caregivers in fostering the mental health and well-being of autistic children. I am also interested in investigating how community-based programs for children with autism can bolster treatment success to ultimately improve mental health outcomes.

My current research interests include the well-being of individuals with neurodevelopmental disorders and their caregivers. I am interested in examining different intervention approaches that aims at improving mental health outcomes. I also have an interest in culturally responsive care and in supporting underserved communities.

My research interests include thriving among autistic children and youth, and the empowerment of these individuals through participatory research and clinical practice. I am further interested in the role of the social environment in defining of disability for autistic children and youth.

  • Yusra Saeed

Diana Pombo
Lab Coordinator

I am the lab coordinator for the DDMH Lab, as well as a recent Specialized Honours Psychology graduate from York. Being involved in this lab allows me to engage in compelling research on neurodevelopmental disabilities and build upon my clinical experience. I am extremely passionate about emotion regulation, specifically focused on mental well-being and familial support.

Jessica Cuciurean
Research Assistant

Cas Dempsey
Research Assistant
  • Yasmeen Aldouri