Our lab team

Dr. Kendra Thomson

Dr. Kendra Thomson is an Associate Professor in the Department of Applied Disability Studies and a Doctoral-level Board Certified Behaviour Analyst. She completed a post-doctoral fellowship at York University with Dr. Jonathan Weiss, the CIHR Chair in Autism Spectrum Disorders Treatment and Care Research.

Dr. Thomson earned her Ph.D. in Applied Behaviour Analysis from the University of Manitoba in 2011, her MA in Lifespan Development (Psychology) from Brock University in 2007, and her honours undergraduate degree in Psychology from the University of Manitoba in 2005.

Past Students

Mahfuz Hassan

About Mahfuz: Mahfuz completed his undergraduate degree in Neuroscience and Mental Health at the University of Toronto before completing his Master of Arts in Applied Disability Studies with specialization in Applied Behaviour Analysis. Mahfuz’s master’s thesis focused on training parents of individuals with autism specitrum disorder to support social skills.

Research interests: Mahfuz’s other research interests include training and development, mental health and addictions, treatment of problem behaviour, and the intersection of all these topics.

Where he is now: After graduating, Mahfuz worked primarily with adults with neurodevelopmental disorders/dual diagnosis in a range of behaviour therapy support and at the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health [CAMH], with some additional work privately with youth and children in more traditional ABA programs as a senior therapist. Mahfuz is currently working as an instructional designer for the problem gambling, problem gaming and problem technology use program at CAMH, primarily designing training for the mental health and addiction sector in Ontario and Ontario lottery and gaming (OLG) employees.

Publications:

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.

Hassan, M., Simpson, A., Danaher, K., Haesen, J., Makela, T., & Thomson, K. (2018). An evaluation of behavioral skills training for teaching caregivers how to support social skill development in their child with autism spectrum disorder. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders48(6), 1957-1970.

Hassan, M. & Kyonka, E. G. (2021). A behavior analytic perspective on treatment of problem gaming and problem social media use. The Psychological Record, 71(2), 219-235.

Reghann Munno

About Reghann: Reghann completed a Specialized Honours Bachelor degree in Psychology at York University and a Master of Arts in Applied Disability Studies with specialization in Applied Behaviour Analysis at Brock University. Her thesis involved the examination of the effects of a self-management treatment package on physical activity in university students with depressive symptoms.

Research Interests: Reghann’s other research interests include clinical behaviour analysis in complex care environments for adults with dual diagnoses.

Where she is now: Since graduating Reghann has been working as a behaviour therapist with Central West Specialized Developmental Services, and as a consulting behaviour therapist with Pelham Psychotherapy, working with adults with dual/multiple diagnoses and problematic sexual behaviour.

Carly Magnacca

About Carly: Carly completed an Honours Bachelor degree in Psychology at Brock University and a Master of Arts in Applied Disability Studies with a specialization in Applied Behaviour Analysis. Her thesis examined the use of behavioural skills training via telecommunication to teach mediators to facilitate acceptance and commitment training (ACT). Carly is a member of the Ontario Association of Behaviour Analysis (ONTABA), Ontario Association for Developmental Disabilities Research Special Interest Group, and Association of Behaviour Analysis International.

Research Interests: In addition to ACT, Carly’s research interests include parent training, staff training, and safety skills.

Where she is now: Since graduating, I started working as a Research Analyst at the Azrieli Adult Neurodevelopmental Centre within the Centre for Addition and Mental Health. This role has provided me the opportunity to continue conducting research with Dr. Thomson on how to better support individuals with neurodevelopmental disabilities and their caregivers. This fall, I will be starting a master’s in Clinical-Developmental Psychology at York University under the supervision of Dr. Adrienne Perry.

Publications:

Davis, S., Thomson, K., & Magnacca, C. (2020). Evaluation of a caregiver training program to teach help-seeking behavior to children with autism spectrum disorder. International Journal of Developmental Disabilities, 66(5), 348-357. https://doi.org/10.1080/20473869.2020.1812144

Lake, J.K., Jachyra, P., Volpe, T., Lunsky, Y., Magnacca, C., Marcinkiewicz, A., Hamdani, Y. (in press). The mental health care experiences of adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities during COVID-19. Journal of Mental Health Research in Intellectual Disabilities,14(3), 285-300. https://doi.org/10.1080/19315864.2021.1892890  

Magnacca, C., Thomson, K., & Marcinkiewicz, A. (2021). Acceptance and commitment therapy for caregivers of children with neurodevelopmental disabilities: A systematic review. Current Developmental Disorders Reports, 8, 152–160. https://doi.org/10.1007/s40474-021-00228-y

Magnacca, C., Thomson, K., Marcinkiewicz, A., Davis, S., Steel, L., Lunsky, Y., Fung, K., Vause, T., & Redquest, B. (accepted). A telecommunication model to train mediators to facilitate acceptance and commitment training. Behaviour Analysis in Practice. 

Willoughby, T., Heffer, T., Good, M., & Magnacca, C. (accepted). Is adolescence a time of heightened risk taking? An overview of types of risk-taking behaviors across age groups. Developmental Review. 

Joey Robertson

About Joey: Joey completed a Masters of Applied Disabilities Study with a specialization in applied behaviour analysis (ABA) before pursuing his Masters of Arts in ABA and examining the use of telehealth in training direct care staff working with young children with autism spectrum disorder. He is currently the graduate representative for the Ontario Association for Behaviour Analysis (ONTABA), as well as a member of Ontario Association for Developmental Disabilities Research Special Interest Group and Association of Behaviour Analysis International.

Reseach interests: Joey’s other research interest include education, group interventions, and positive behaviour supports.

Where he is now:

Amanda Marcinkiewicz

About Amanda: Amanda completed a Master of Education in Developmental Psychology and Education at the University of Toronto and a Master of Arts in Applied Disability Studies with a specialization in Applied Behaviour Analysis (ABA). The focus of her thesis pertained to measuring and reporting the Acceptance and Commitment Therapy process of Committed Action in caregivers of children with neurodevelopmental disabilities in order to identify potential associations between overt behaviours (actions) and decreases covert behaviours (psychological distress).

Research Interests: Amanda’s other research interests include applications of ABA in the realm of Sport Psychology.

Where she is now:

Current Students

Sarah Davis

About Sarah: Sarah completed a Master of Arts in Applied Disability Studies with specialization in Applied Behaviour Analysis in 2018 and is a Board Certified Behaviour Analyst. Her thesis was a mixed methods evaluation, which included a component analysis of behavioural skills training for teaching volunteers and a thematic analysis of the volunteers experience teaching persons with developmental disabilities. Sarah is currently completing her PhD in the Department of Child and Youth Studies at Brock University, under the supervision of Drs. Kendra Thomson and Tricia Vause. Sarah’s current research interests include clinical behaviour analysis and sport psychology.

Research interests: Sarah’s research interests include behavioural sport psychology and clinical behaviour analysis

Where she is now: While Sarah is completing her PhD, she is also teaching master’s level ABA courses at Brock University

Publications:

Cox, A. & Davis, S. (2019). A review of evidence-based approaches to caregiver training. Current Developmental Disorders Report6(4), [Advanced online copy]. 182-187. doi:10.1007/s40474-019-00176.8.

Cox, A., Davis, S. & Feldman, M. (revise and resubmit, April 2021). Medication training for behaviour analysts: A brief report. Behavior Analysis Research and Practice

Davis, S., Raby, R., Thomson, K., Connolly, M., & Vause, T. (submitted). An autoethnographic analysis of power in a behavior analytic informed approach to dance education. Research in Dance Education

Davis, S., Thomson, K., & Magnacca, C. (2020). An evaluation of behavioural skills training to help parents teach their children with autism spectrum disorder help-seeking behavior. International Journal on Developmental Disabilities66(5), https://doi.org.10.1080/20473869.2020.1812144.

Huber, J., Davis, S., Phan, J., Jegathesan, T., Campbell, D., & Walsh, C. M. (accepted).     Children’s ability to call 911 in an emergency: A simulation study. JAMA Pediatrics.

Davis, S., Thomson, K., & Connolly, M. (2019). A component analysis of behavioural skills training with volunteers teaching motor skills. Behavioral Interventions, 9(34), 431–450. https://doi.org.10.1002/bin.1688.

Brown, R., Thomson K., & Davis, S. (2020). Roles and training of disability personnel. In Brown, I., Percy, M. E., Aldersey, H., Condillac, R., Fung, A., & Isaacs, B. (Eds.). Developmental disabilities in Ontario (Fourth Edition). Toronto, ON: Ontario Association on Developmental Disabilities.

Wasoba, K., Davis, S., & Mitchell, R. (In press). A transdisciplinary analysis of international school strikes: Pay no attention to that man behind the curtain.

Kirsten Young

About Kirsten: Kirsten completed a Dual Major Bachelor’s degree in Applied Linguistics and Child and Youth Studies (Honours) at Brock University. She is now currently completing a Master of Arts in Applied Disability Studies with specialization in Applied Behaviour Analysis at Brock University, under the supervision of Dr. Kendra Thomson. Her master’s thesis is evaluating the impact that the use of a mobile training app has on novel individuals volunteering with a neurodiverse population in a physical activity environment. The app uses a behavioural skills training (BST) framework combined with voice-over video modeling (VMVO) to teach various instructional strategies.

Research Interests: Kirsten’s research interests include mediator training, behaviour management, and positive behaviour supports within the adult sector of disability studies.

Sarah Bernier

About Sarah: Sarah completed an Honours Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology at McGill University where she completed two undergraduate honours theses, which dealt with psychopathology and fear generalization. She is now starting her Master of Arts in Applied Disability Studies with a specialization in Applied Behaviour Analysis at Brock University under the supervision of Dr. Kendra Thomson. Her thesis investigates the use of behavioural skills training and self-management as training procedures to help improve clinicians’ implementation fidelity and quality of cognitive behavioural therapy for children with autism with comorbid anxiety.

Research Interests: Sarah’s research interests include parent and staff training, as well as combining clinical child psychology and applied behaviour analysis to help children with trauma history, and children with neurodevelopmental disorders, and their families, obtain the support they need to cultivate skills such as emotion regulation, problem solving and behaviour management.

Research Assistants

Julia DeSantis

Julia has been working in the field of behaviour interventions for three years and has an Honours Bachelor of Science degree. She has always been interested in learning more about ongoing research in the field.

Melissa Susko

Melissa has an Honours Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology. Her honours thesis examined reactions to masks among infants at an increased likelihood for developing autism spectrum disorder. She’s excited to gain more research experience in this area.