Laurie Ford


Associate Professor
SACP Admissions Coordinator
SACP Director of Training


Office: Scarfe Office Block 2410

Children, Families, and Communities Lab

Human Development, Learning, and CultureSchool and Applied Child Psychology

Director, Early Childhood Education
School and Child Clinical Psychology Certified School Psychologist

I am a former special education teacher having taught  in early childhood and middle school settings. This work led me to doctoral study in School Psychology at the University of Kansas (APA Accredited).  I completed my pre-doctoral internship and a doctoral fellowship in Pediatric Psychology with the University of Nebraska Professional Psychology Internship Consortium (APA Accredited) and the University of Nebraska Medical Center. Through my experiences as an educator and school psychologist I developed interest in children and families from diverse cultural backgrounds including a clinical focus on children in early childhood and families.

The favourite part of my job is working with  graduate students and supporting them in their research and clinical training. I have supervised  30+ doctoral dissertations and 45+ masters thesis. When I am not at work I enjoy being outdoors and hanging with my dogs Gracie Belle and Cooper.

Scholarly Interests:

AssessmentChild and Adolescent DevelopmentChildren and Youth with Special NeedsConsultation and InterventionsEarly Childhood AssessmentEarly Childhood DevelopmentEarly InterventionMulti-disciplinary TeamsSupervisionYouth and Families

With a strong interdisciplinary focus to my scholarly interests, I believe we learn from each other and make the greatest difference in the lives of children, youth, and their families when we work collaboratively across supportive school and community environments. Family-school-community relationships and creating trust and sense of belonging in schools for families of students who are often considered vulnerable has been a scholarly interest throughout my career.  Currently I am exploring ways we can best support school belonging for students with diverse learning needs and their families including those who are immigrants, refugees, and/or have special learning and mental health needs.  My research has also focused on children in early childhood and their families including family engagement in learning and early childhood assessment. Collaborative approaches to addressing the mental health needs of children and youth and communicating with families about the learning and mental health needs of their children is also an area of focus for students in our lab.

Theoretical Orientation:



Community Engagement

Community engagement and service are important to me. I am engaged in my professional communities in a variety ways.  I present across Canada and the United States on cognitive, academic, and early childhood assessment and responsive family-school-professional communication. I have served on a number of state and provincial advisory boards including the Infant Development Program, Aboriginal Infant Development, and Supported Child Development.  My work as a volunteer supporting immigrants and refugees in our local community has enriched my life personally and professionally.

As the Chair of the Educational and School Psychology Section of the Canadian Psychological Association (CPA) (2018-2020), I am working with a team to help strengthen our profession across the country with a goal of more sharing and collaboration by school psychologists across Canada and a greater diversity of our profession.  I also serve on the CPA Accreditation Panel (2018-2021)

Courses Taught

EPSE 534 Academic Assessment

EPSE 551A Consultation: Introduction to Schools and Schooling

EPSE 553 Theories of Cognitive Abilities

EPSE 554 Cognitive Assessment Practicum

EPSE 561 School Psychology Practicum

EPSE 565 Families and Diversity

EPSE 589 Masters Internship in School Psychology

EPSE 598 Masters Practicum in School Psychology

EPSE 633 Community Systems

EPSE 688 Practicum in Supervision

EPSE 689 Pre-Doctoral Internship in School Psychology

EPSE 604 Advanced Topics in Human Development Learning and Culture: Students, Families, Community Systems

EPSE 421 Assessment of Learning Difficulties

EPSE 511 Special Topics in Human Development, Learning, & Culture

INDS 502 Interdisciplinary Practice


University of Kansas, 1991, Ph.D.

Oklahoma State University, 1985, M.Sc.

Oklahoma State University, 1984, B.Sc.

Research Projects

Selected Current & On Going Projects

Creating Trust and Sense of Belonging in Schools for Families of Immigrants and Refugees.  Over the next few years we will be exploring ways to support families and students who are immigrants or refugees in their children school and schooling as they transition to a new country.  We will explore both learning and mental health needs of children, youth, and their families who are immigrants and refugees.

Nobody Asked Me Studies.  Along with colleagues at the University of Northern Iowa, faculty and students in our lab are examining the the process of communicating assessment results with students, families, and educators.

The KID (Kids with Inflammatory Bowel Disease) Studies. The projects examine the experiences children and youth with inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) such as Crohn’s with a particular emphasis on the impact of this chronic health condition on their school and schooling experience.  We anticipate expanding these studies to children with other chronic health conditions including celiac diseases and its impact on school and schooling.

The Kids in Communities Study (KICS): An Examination of Community Level Effects on Child Developmental Outcomes. (Funded by Australian Research Council).  This project headed by Dr. Sharon Goldfeld at the University of Melbourne and a team of researchers across Australia and Canada.  It is a three year project targeting 10 sites across Australia with the aim of identifying modifiable community level factors that have an influence on children’s health and developmental outcomes and that facilitate or mitigate the wellbeing of young children in areas of advantage and disadvantage across Australia.  It is our hope to apply some of the findings to our work in communities in British Columbia.

Early Childhood Assessment Projects. We have a series of on-going studies examining use, theoretical underpinnings, and characteristics (including technical properties) of cognitive and social-emotional assessment tools commonly used with children in early childhood. Studies examine the application of Cattell-Horn-Carroll (CHC) theory to preschool cognitive measures, the role of basic concepts in early childhood assessment measures, technical, theoretical, and cultural considerations in early childhood assessment and cross-national norms.

Selected Recently Completed Projects:

Challenge or Opportunity: Exploring Family, School, and Community Perspectives on Young Children From Culturally and Linguistically Diverse Backgrounds (Funded by the UBC Hampton ).  Examining kindergarten transition practices for young children from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds with an emphasis on practices that consider child and family strengths instead of vulnerabilities.

Environmental Impacts on Early School Readiness in British Columbia: Classroom, Family, Neighborhood and Community Perspectives – SPACES: The Children’s Environments Project.  (Funded by the BC Ministry of Children and Family Development) The SPACES Project was a series of interconnected studies designed to examine the environmental factors that promote early school success. The focus for the studies was on children, families, schools, and neighborhoods demonstrating high degrees of vulnerability. In our first year our projects focused on children’s perceptions of safety and neighbourhood parent-child play in South Asian immigrant families, children’s play spaces, and the development of a neighbourhood observation measure.

Early Development Instrument (EDI) Validation Studies With a team of collaborators at HELP. We conducted ongoing research on the validity of the EDI including better understanding the constructs measured by the EDI, the inter-rater reliability and the reliability and validity of electronic versions of the EDI (eEDI).

Selected Publications

*Student co-authors are underlined.

Selected Publications

JitlinaK.,  ZumboB, MirendaP, FordL, BennettT, GeorgiadesS, Waddell,C, SmithI,  Volden,J, Duku, E, ZwaigenbaumL, Szatmari, P, Vaillancourt, T. (2017). Psychometric properties of the Spence Children’s Anxiety Scale – Parent Report in children with autism spectrum disorders. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, 47. 1-10.

Gomez, M.& Ford, L. (2017) Professional Development in Chilean State-Funded Early Childhood Education: What do teachers have to say.  Journal of International Research in Early Childhood Education (IRECE), 8, 21-37

Saqui, S., Durica, J., & Ford, L. (2016).  Reviving a school psychology student association: One school’s experience. NASP Communique45 (4), 20-21.

Lee, A., Rahimi, D., & Ford, L. (2016).  Supporting the needs of students who are refugee and their families in schools. BCASP In-Psychts, 29 (4)9 -15.

Ford, L. & Phillips, R. (2016).  Outdoor Education for young children: A role for community psychology.  Canadian Community Psychologist, 25 (1), 34-47.

Swart, S., Hall, W., McKee, W., & Ford, L. (2014).  Caregivers’ Management of Schooling for their Children with FASD. Submitted to Qualitative Health Research, 24, 1540-1552. dos: 10.1177/1049732314545497.

Ford, L. (2014). Family Considerations in Early childhood assessment and intervention. In. V. Berninger (Ed). Interdisciplinary Frameworks for School Assessment, Instruction, and Learning Solutions: Taking into Account Developmental, Individual, Family, and Cultural Differences (pp. 214-218). Washington, DC: American Psychological Association.

Negreiros, J. & Ford, L. (2012). Children’s perspectives of safety in their neighbourhood. The Community Psychologist, 45,41-43.

Ford, L., Kozey, M., & Negreiros, J. (2012). Cognitive assessment in early childhood: Theoretical and practice perspectives. In D.P Flanagan & P.L Harrison (Eds), Contemporary intellectual assessment: Theory, Research and Practice (3rd ed). (pp. 585-622). New York: Guilford Press.

Locke, S., McGrew, K.S., & Ford, L. (2012). A multiple group confirmatory factor analysis of the structural invariance of the Cattell-Horn-Caroll Theory of Cognitive Abilities across matched Canadian and US samples. WMF Press Bulletin, No. 1. Retrieved from the Woodcock-Munoz Foundation website:

Goelman, H., Ford, L., Pighini, M., Dahinten, S., Harris, S., Synnes, A., Tse, L., Ball, J., and Hayes, V. (2011). What we learned about identification and screening. In H. Goelman, J. Pivik, & M. Guhn (Eds), The CHILD Project: New approaches for research in child development: Rules, rituals, and realities. New York: MacMillan.

Ford, L., Swart, S., Negreiros, J., Lacroix, S., and McGrew, K.S. (2010). Use of the Woodcock-Johnson III NU Tests of Cognitive Abilities and Tests of Achievement with Canadian Populations. Woodcock-Johnson III:Assessment Service Bulletin No.12. Rolling Meadows, IL: Riverside Publishing.

Jimenez, J,E., Siegel, L., O’Shananan, I, & Ford, L, (2009). The relative roles of IQ and cognitive processes in reading disabilities.Educational Psychology, 29 (1), 27-43.

Ford, L., & Negreiros, J. (2009). Teacher Training. In J. Schoader,, (Eds). Creating communities for young children: A toolkit for change. UBC Press.

Goelman, H. and the CHILD Project. (2008). Three Complementary Community-based Approaches to the Early Identification of Young Children at Risk for Developmental Delays/Disorders. Infants and Young Children, Journal of the International Society for Early Intervention. 21 (4). 306-323.

Lapointe, V.R., Ford, L, & Zumbo, B. (2007). Examining the relationship between neighborhood environment and school readiness for kindergarten children. Early Education and Development, 3, 473-496.

Heiney, S. P., McWayne, J., Ford, L. & Carter, C. (2006). Measurement in group interventions for women with breast cancer. Journal of Psychosocial Oncology, 24(4), 89-106.

Ford, L. & Amaral, D. (2006).Research on parent involvement: Where we’ve been, where we need to go. School Leadership Journal, 1(6). 1-20.

Kearns, T, Linney, J.A., & Ford, L. (2005). African American student representation in special education programs. Journal of Negro Education, 74, 297-310.

Phelps, L., McGrew, K., Kopnik, S, & Ford, L (2005). The General (g), Broad and Narrow CHC Stratum Characteristics of the WJ III and WISC-III Tests: A Confirmatory Cross-Battery Investigation. School Psychology Quarterly. 20(1), 66-88.

Ford, L., & Tusing, M.E. (2004). Linking ability measures for young children to contemporary theories of cognitive ability. International Journal of Testing. 4(2). 91-114.

Wandersman, A., Flaspohler, P., Ace, A., Ford, L., Chinman, M., & Imm. P. (2003). PIE ala Mode.:Mainstreaming evaluation and accountability in each program and every county of a statewide school readiness initiative. American Evaluation Journal. [invited paper for special issue on mainstreaming evaluation].

Ford, L, (2003). Assessing Preschool Children. In R. W. Woodcock, K. McGrew, N. Mather, & F. J. Schrank. Diagnostic Supplement to the Woodcock-Johnson-III. Itasca, IL: Riverside Publishing.

Ford, L., Tusing, M.E., & Maricle, D. (2003). Assessment of Preschool Age children with the WJIII. In F..Schrank & Flanagan. D. (Eds). The Woodcock-Johnson III: Clinical use and interpretation. San Diego: Academic Press.

Ford, L., Keith, T., Floyd, R., Fields, C., & Schrank, F. J. (2003). WJIII and children with ADHD. In F. Schrank & Flanagan. D. (Eds). The Woodcock-Johnson III: Clinical use and interpretation. San Diego, CA: Academic Press.

McGrew, K., Ford, L., & Woodcock, R.W. (2001). The Woodcock-Johnson- -Third Edition (WJ III)): Description and application with adolescents and adults. In A. Kaufman, N. Kaufman, & E. Lichetenberg (Eds.), Clinical Assessment with Adolescents and Adults (2nd ed.). New York: John Wiley.

Rivera, B.M. & Ford, L. (1998). Parental perceptions of child development among low-income Mexican American families. Journal of Child and Family Studies, 7.

Selected Recent Referred National/International Presentations

Ford, L. (Chair). (2018). School Psychology Practice and Indigenous Populations in Light of Truth and Reconciliation. Symposium presented at the International Congress of Applied Psychology/Canadian Psychological Association, Montreal, QE.

Nelson, M. & Ford, L. (2018). The Lived Experience of Indigenous Parents of Students with Special Needs. Paper presented at the International Congress of Applied Psychology/Canadian Psychological Association, Montreal, QE.

Ford, L. & Nelson, M. (2018). Addressing the Truth and Reconciliation Commission Calls to Action: Considerations for Educational and School Psychology Three Years After the TRC Report. Paper presented at the International Congress of Applied Psychology/Canadian Psychological Association, Montreal, QE.

Ford, L., Picardo, R., Nelson, M., Rahimi, D., & Lee, A. (2018). Teacher and Parent Preferences in Psychoeducational Report Format. Paper presented at the International Congress of Applied Psychology/Canadian Psychological Association, Montreal, QE.

Ford, L., Picardo, R., Rahimi, D., Lee, A., & Nelson, N. (2018). Building Culturally Responsive Relationships: Communicating Assessment Findings with Diverse Families. Workshop presented at the annual meeting of the National Association of School Psychologists, Chicago, IL.

Arya, S. & Ford, L. (2017) Sowing Trust, Growing Engagement: Minority Families and Special Education. Presentation at the annual meeting of the National Association of School Psychologists, San Antonio, TX.

Nelson, M., Ford, L., Rahimi, D., Lee, A., & Picardo, R. (2017). Building Positive Relationships in Communicating  Assessment Findings to Culturally and Linguistically Diverse Families. Presentation at the annual meeting of the National Association of School Psychologists, San Antonio, TX.

Nelson, M. & Ford, L. (2017). The Experience of Indigenous Families of Children with Special Needs.Presentation at the annual meeting of the National Association of School Psychologists, San Antonio, TX.

Ford, L. (Chair) (2017). School Partnerships: Exploring the Experiences of Different Cultural Groups. Symposium Presentation at the annual meeting of the National Association of School Psychologists, San Antonio, TX.

Nelson, M., Rahimi, D., Lee. A. , & Ford, L. (2017). What Do Families Say: Making Assessment Feedback Work for Families. Presentation at the annual meeting of the National Association of School Psychologists, San Antonio, TX.

Fuchs, C. & Ford, L. (2017). Academic Success Among Chronically Ill Children. Presentation at the annual meeting of the National Association of School Psychologists, San Antonio, TX.

Rahimi, D., Ford, L., Fuchs, C., & Bailey, D. (2017) Understanding Sense of Belonging from Teacher and Immigrant Family Perspectives. Presentation at the annual meeting of the National Association of School Psychologists, San Antonio, TX.

Ford, L. (Chair). (2017).  Addressing the needs of children and youth with inflammatory bowel disease. Symposium presented at the annual meeting of the Canadian Psychological Association, Toronto, ON.

Ford, L., Khodarahimi, N., Lee. A., and Rahimi, D. (2017) Supporting the Needs of Students Who Are Refugees in Canadian Schools: A Strengths-Based Perspective. Presentation at the annual meeting of the Canadian Psychological Association, Toronto, ON.

Ford, L. & Picardo, L. (2017) Perspectives of Students with Crohn’s Disease, Parents, and Professionals of Their School Experience. Presentation at the annual meeting of the Canadian Psychological Association, Toronto, ON.