Priscilla Burnham Riosa

Associate Professor

Dr. Priscilla Burnham Riosa, Applied Disability Studies, Brock University


Office: TH 146G
905-688-5550 x6376

Burnham Riosa Lab

Dr. Burnham Riosa may be accepting a student in Fall 2023. Interested students should email her directly at

I am an associate professor in the Department of Applied Disability Studies. I am a Doctoral-level Board Certified Behaviour Analyst and I have been working in the disability field with children, youth, and adults with autism and their families for over 20 years. I earned my PhD in human development at the University of Guelph and MSc at Western University in developmental psychology. I also completed a postdoctoral fellowship at York University where I conducted clinical research in the area of mental health and autism.

My research focuses on understanding and improving the well-being of people with disabilities and their families across the lifespan. Some topics of interest include: using behavioural skills training to teach rapport building skills to clinicians; examining therapeutic rapport and how it relates to treatment success; exploring mental health among vulnerable populations; understanding family experiences of disability; evaluating behavioural interventions to improve transition difficulties; using behavioural methods to study mindfulness-based approaches.

Burnham Riosa, P., Randhawa, A., & Muskat, B. (accepted). Autism comes to the pediatric hospital: Perspectives of Child Life Specialists. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders.

Burnham Riosa, P., Khan, M., & Weiss, J. A. (2020). Measuring therapeutic alliance in children with autism during cognitive behaviour therapy. Clinical Psychology & Psychotherapy. doi: 10.1002/cpp.2404

Salem-Guirgis, S., Albaum, C., Tablon, P., Burnham Riosa, P., Nicholas, D., Drmic, I., & Weiss, J. A. (2019). MYmind: A concurrent group-based mindfulness intervention for    youth with autism and their parents. Mindfulness. doi:

Fardella, M. A., Burnham Riosa, P., & Weiss, J. A. (2018). A qualitative investigation of risk and protective factors for violence in adults on the autism spectrum. Disability & Society. doi:

Weiss, J. A. Thomson, K., Burnham Riosa, P., Albaum, C., Chan, V., Maughan, A., Tablon, P., Black, K. (2018). A randomized waitlist controlled trial of cognitive behavior therapy to improve emotion regulation in children with autism. The Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry. doi:

Burnham Riosa, P., Greenblatt, A., Muskat, B. (2017). An online ASD learning module for pediatric health care professionals. Advances in Autism, 3(3), 154-162. doi:

Burnham Riosa, P., Ting, V., Maughan, A., Stables, V., Albaum, C., & Weiss, J. A. (2017). Remediating deficits or increasing strengths in ASD research: A content analysis. Advances in Neurodevelopmental Disorders, 1(3), 113-121. doi: 10.1007/s41252-017-0027-3

Hassan, M., Thomson, K. M., Khan, M. Burnham Riosa, P., & Weiss, J. A. (2017). Behavioral skills training for graduate students providing cognitive behavior therapy to children with autism spectrum disorder. Behavior Analysis: Research and Practice, 17(2), 155-165. doi: 10.1037/bar0000078

Weiss, J. A., Burnham Riosa, P., Robinson, S., Ryan, S., Tint, A., Viecili, M., MacMullin, J. A., & Shine, R. (2016). Understanding Special Olympics experiences from the athlete perspectives using photo-elicitation: A qualitative study. Journal of Applied Research in Intellectual Disabilities, 30(5), 936-945. doi: 10.1111/jar.12287

Thomson, K., Burnham Riosa, P., & Weiss, J. A., (2015). Brief report of preliminary outcomes of an emotion regulation intervention for children with autism spectrum disorder. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders. 45(11), 3487-3495. doi: 10.1007/s10803-015-2446-1

Weiss, J. A., & Burnham Riosa, P. (2015). Thriving in youth with autism spectrum disorder and intellectual disability. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, 45(8), 2474-2486. doi: 10.1007/s10803-015-2412-y

Burnham Riosa, P., Preyde, M., & Porto, M. L. (2015). Transitioning to adult mental health services: Perceptions of adolescents with emotional and behavioral problems. Journal of Adolescent Research, 30(4), 446-476. doi: 10.1177/0743558415569730

Muskat, B., Burnham Riosa, P., Nicholas, D., Roberts, W., Stoddart, K., & Zwaigenbaum, L. (2015). Autism comes to the hospital: The experiences of patients with autism spectrum disorder, their parents, and health care providers at two Canadian paediatric hospitals. Autism: International Journal of Research and Practice, 19(4), 482-490. doi: 10.1177/1362361314531341

Feldman, M. A., Bosett, J., Collet, C., & Burnham Riosa, P. (2014). Where are persons with intellectual disabilities in medical research? A survey of medical clinical trials. Journal of Intellectual Disability Research. 58(9), 800-809. doi: 10.1111/jir.12091

McArthur, B., Burnham Riosa, P., & Preyde, M. (2012). Treatment fidelity in psychosocial intervention for children and adolescents with comorbid problems. Child and Adolescent Mental Health, 17(3), 139-145. doi: 10.1111/j.1475-3588.2011.00635.x

Burnham Riosa, P., McArthur, B., & Preyde, M. (2011). Effectiveness of psychosocial intervention for children and adolescents with comorbid internalizing and externalizing problems: A systematic review. Child and Adolescent Mental Health, 16(4), 177-185. doi: 10.1111/j.1475-3588.2011.00609.x

Preyde, M., & Burnham Riosa, P. (2011). Intervention fidelity in psychosocial oncology. Journal of Evidence-Based Social Work, 8(4), 379-396. doi: 10.1080/15433714.2011.542334

Preyde, M., Frensch, K., Cameron, G., Hazineh, L., & Burnham Riosa, P. (2011). Mental health outcomes of children and youth accessing residential programs or a home-based alternative. Social Work in Mental Health, 9(1), 1-21. doi: 10.1080/15332985.2010.494557

Burnham. P., Synnott, E., & Preyde, M. (2009). The association between childhood mental health and poverty: Unveiling a hidden reality. Child and Family Professional, 12(2), 14-20.


Book Chapter

Weiss, J. A., Burnham Riosa, P., Mazefsky, C. A., & Beaumont, R. (2017). Emotion regulation in autism spectrum disorder. In C. Essau and T. Ollendick (Eds.). Emotion Regulation and Psychopathology in Children and Adolescents (pp. 235-258). London: Oxford University Press.


Shona Mills, MA Student Kevin Yu, MA Student
Sara Tanasichuk, MA Student


Jean Phan, MA
Brittany Davy, MARebecca Ensor, MABrynn Jichici, MA