Alicia Azzano

#meetourgradstudents Alicia

Program:  MA in Applied Disability Studies

Program Entry Date:  2017

Advisor:   Dr. Maurice Feldman

My name is Alicia Azzano, and this is my Brock Grad Story. I am in the second year of my MA program in Applied Disability Studies. My journey started in my fourth year of my undergraduate in Child and Youth Studies, when I completed my honours thesis with Dr. Maurice Feldman, studying the relationship between early signs of Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) and family history conditions for infants at low and high risk of ASD. This experience inspired me to continue pursuing research in disability studies, as I realized all of the value and merit this field holds for many people presently and in the future. For my MA thesis, with Dr. Maurice Feldman, Dr. Rebecca Ward, and Dr. Tricia Vause, we are currently studying the effectiveness of a parent-mediated intervention using teaching strategies based on Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) for infants at-risk for ASD. Parents are trained to work on improving targeted behaviors. This research is important to me because I get to work with parents and give them the opportunity be an integral part of their child’s progression. As well, using an early parent report screening tool we are able to identify and intervene on skills that are concerning for the development of the child. It is remarkable to have the opportunity to work with so many amazing families and professors who all serve the common goal of improving child development. In addition, I work at the Phoenix Centre, where we provide Autism services based on the principles of ABA. Working at Phoenix Centre gives me the opportunity to practice my behavior analytic skills while serving so many families with an amazing team. I can definitely say that so far completing my MA thesis in Applied Disability Studies has been an impactful, life changing experience, and I thank all of the people who have supported me along the way.