University of Calgary

Carly McMorris

  • Assistant Professor


Dr. Carly McMorris has a PhD in Clinical-Developmental Psychology from York University (Toronto, Ontario). She completed her clinical internship at The Hospital for Sick Children (SickKids; Toronto, Ontario), and is a Registered Psychologist in Alberta (#4997). In the fall of 2015, she moved to Calgary and completed a postdoctoral fellowship in the Department of Paediatrics, Cumming School of Medicine at the University of Calgary and the Owerko Centre at the Alberta Children’s Hospital Research Institute. Dr. McMorris joined the Werklund School of Education in 2016 as an Assistant Professor in the School and Applied Child Psychology program.

Research & Scholarly Activity

Dr. McMorris’ program of research focuses on how to improve the mental health and well-being of children and adolescents with neurodevelopmental disorders (NDD), such as autism spectrum disorder, fetal alcohol spectrum disorder, and cerebral palsy. She is particularly interested in understanding the risk/protective factors for the development of mental health issues in NDDs. She also investigates the underlying neuropsychological, social, neurological, and physiological mechanisms of mental health issues in NDDs, and how such issues impact children and families. Additionally, she examines the service use patterns and needs, and barriers/facilitators to accessing services for families of individuals with NDDs and co-occurring mental health issues. Lastly, she determines the effectiveness of psychological (e.g., CBT) and pharmacological interventions for individuals with NDDs and mental health issues.


PhD: Clinical-Developmental Psychology (2015)
York University

Masters of Arts: Clinical-Developmental Psychology (2009)
York University

Bachelor of Arts (Hons): Psychology (2006)
University of Calgary

Professional & Community Affiliations

Given Dr. McMorris’ broad research and clinical interests, she has affiliations with a variety of professional and community organizations related to child psychology, typical and atypical development, autism spectrum disorder and other neurodevelopmental disorders.

  • College of Alberta Psychologists, Registered Psychologist
  • Canadian Psychological Association & Psychologists' Association of Alberta, Member
  • Owerko Centre at the Alberta Children’s Hospital Research Institute, Full Member
  • Alberta Children’s Hospital Research Institute (ACHRI), Full Member
  • Mathison Centre for Mental Health, Research and Educatiion, University of Calgary, Associate Member
  • Hotchkiss Brain Institute (HBI), Associate Member
  • Mental Health Neuroteam, University of Calgary, Member
  • Neurodevelopmental Neuroteam, University of Calgary, Member
  • O’Brien Institute for Public Health, Associate Member
  • International Society for Autism Research, Member
  • Society for Research in Child Development (SRCD), Member

Selected Publications

McMorris, C.A., Baraskewich, J., Ames, M., Ncube, B., Shaikh, K., & Bebko, J.M. (in press). Mental health issues in post-secondary students with autism spectrum disorder: Experiences in accessing services. International Journal of Mental Health and Addiction. (IF:1.192)

Ncube, B., Shaikh, K., Ames, M., McMorris, C.A., & Bebko, J.M. (in press) Social support in post-secondary students with autism spectrum disorder. International Journal of Mental Health and Addiction. (IF:1.192)

Balogh, R. S., McMorris, C. A., Ouellette-Kuntz, H., Bourne, L., Lunsky, Y., & Colantonio, A. (2016). Organising health care services for persons with an Intellectual Disability (Review). Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews. (IF: 5.79)

Nicholas, D. B., Zwaigenbaum, L., Ing, S., MacCulloch, R., Roberts, W., McKeever, P., & McMorris, C. A. (2016). “Live it to understand it”: The experiences of mothers of children with Autism Spectrum Disorder. Qualitative Health Research. (IF: 2.18)

Ames, M. E., McMorris, C. A., Alli, L., & Bebko, J. M. (2015). Overview and evaluation of a mentorship program for university students with Asperger and ASD. Focus on Autism and Other Developmental Disabilities, 31, 27-36 (IF: 1.27)

Bebko, J. M., Rhee, T., McMorris, C. A., & Ncube, B. L. (2015). Spontaneous strategy use in children with autism spectrum disorder: The roles of metamemory and language skills. Frontiers in Psychology, 4, 1-10. (IF: 2.6)

Modi, M., McMorris, C. A., Palucka, A., Raina, P., & Lunsky, Y. (2015). Predictors of specialized inpatient admissions for adults with intellectual disabilities. American Journal on Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities, 120(1), 46-57. (IF: 2.1)


  • 2017-2021 Eyes High Doctoral Recruitment Scholarship (PhD Student: Jessica Baraskewich)
  • 2015-2018 Alberta Health Innovates Solutions (AIHS) Postgraduate Fellowship
  • 2012 Canadian Departments of Psychology (CCDP) – Certificate of Teaching Excellence Award
  • 2011-2012 Ontario Graduate Scholarship (OGS)
  • 2010-2011 Ontario Graduate Scholarship (OGS)
  • 2009-2010 Ontario College of Graduate Students (OCGS) – Autism Scholar Doctoral Award
  • 2007-2008 Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC) – Canadian Graduate Scholarship (CGS)

Current Projects

1) Anxiety in Children and Youth with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD)
Role: Principle Investigator 
Funded by: Alberta Children’s Hospital Foundation
Dates of project: 2017-2020
2) Key Elements of Successful Housing for Individuals with Development Disabilities and Exceptional Behavioural Needs: Useful Space Designs and Supportive Residential Models
Role: Co-Investigator
Principle Investigator: Dr. Robert Balogh
Funded by: Ministry of Community and Social Services (MCSS)
Dates of Project: 2018-2021
3) Sensory Function in Autism Spectrum Disorder in Early Childhood 
Role: Co-Investigator
Principle Investigators: Dr. Signe Bray & Dr. Ashley Harris
Funded by: University of Calgary – Hotchkiss Brain Institute / Department of Clinical Neuroscience Pilot Research Fund (PFUN), Seed Grant
Dates of Project: 2018-2019
4) Developmental, Mental Health and Brain Profiles of Children with Multiple Early Risks and Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder
Role: Co-Investigator
Principle Investigator: Dr. Catherine Lebel
Funded by: Alberta Health Services Addiction and Mental Health Strategic Clinical Network Clinical Clinical Connection Grant 2017
Dates of Project: 2017-2018
5) Understanding how to best Support Students with Mental Health Issues and a Comorbid Developmental or Physical Health Needs
Role: Principle Investigator
Funded by: Werklund School of Education Research Collaboration Grant
Dates of Project: 2016-2018
6) Autism Spectrum Disorder and Epilepsy: Outcomes of Children and Families in the Autism Epilepsy Clinic 
Role: Co-Investigator
Principal Investigator(s): Dr. Deborah Dewey, PhD & Dr. Jeff Buchhalter, MD
Funded by: University of Calgary/Department of Pediatrics, Pediatric Innovation Award
Dates of Project: 2016-2018


EDPS 685: Child and Adolescent Counselling 

EDPS 793: School and Clinic-Based Interventions 

Photograph of Carly McMorris
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