Kaitlyn McLachlan (she/her)

Clinical Child and Adolescent Psychology
519-824-4120 ext 56447
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By Appointment


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Kaitlyn McLachlan is an Associate Professor in the CPA-accredited Clinical Child and Adolescent Psychology (CCAP) program at the University of Guelph. The core of her work focuses on improving outcomes for vulnerable populations in both community and criminal justice settings with a focus on individuals with fetal alcohol spectrum disorder, by (1) gathering knowledge to define the problem; (2) identifying risk and protective factors; and (3) developing, implementing, and evaluating solutions to improve outcomes.  Her current program of research centres around Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD) and neurodevelopmental disability across the lifespan, including a focus on the criminal justice system. Dr. McLachlan's research interests include understanding neurobiological and environmental risk markers associated with adverse outcomes in FASD, the importance of establishing valid and reliable screening and diagnostic approaches, and better understanding risk and protective factors associated with criminal justice system trajectories. The overall focus of her research and clinical work seeks to improve developmental and social outcomes for vulnerable youth. She applies an interdisciplinary and collaborative approach to her research, with current projects using EEG and eye movement recording to identify novel neurobiomarkers for FASD in the criminal justice context. Her broader forensic interests include comprehension of rights at interrogation, fitness to stand trial, violence risk assessment, and professional practices among forensic clinicians.

Kaitlyn is a member in good standing of the College of Psychologists of Ontario, and is registered with the College of Psychologists of British Columbia (out of province status). She applies a CBT-informed approach to clinical assessment and intervention, attends to evidence-based models of practice, and has practiced dialectical behavior therapy in both forensic and clinical settings.

Dr. McLachlan is also an Assistant Clinical Professor (Adjunct, P/T) in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioural Neurosciences at McMaster University. She is a Member of the Peter Boris Centre for Addictions Research, and an Affiliate of the Research Institute at St. Joseph’s Healthcare Hamilton. She is also a Member of the Mental Health Law and Policy Institute at Simon Fraser University. Dr. McLachlan is currently a Research Lead in Justice with the Canada FASD Research Network.


Kaitlyn completed her M.A. and Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology with a forensic specialization at Simon Fraser University. She was subsequently awarded a training fellowship by NeuroDevNet and completed a two-year research postdoctoral fellowship with concurrent appointments in the Department of Pediatrics at the University of Alberta, and the Child and Family Research Institute, Developmental Neurosciences and Child Health, at the University of British Columbia.

Selected Publications

Selected Publications

* Indicates student collaborator

Peer Reviewed Articles


*Grubb, M., *Golden, A., *Withers, A., *Vellone, D., Young, A., & McLachlan, K. (in press). Screening approaches for identifying fetal alcohol spectrum disorder in children, adolescents, and adults: A systematic review. Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research

McLachlan, K., Flannigan, K., Temple, V., Unsworth, K. L., & Cook, J. L. (2020). Difficulties in daily living experienced by adolescents, transition‐aged youth, and adults with Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder. Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research, 44(8), 1609-1624.  https://doi.org/10.1111/acer.14385.

McLachlan, K. *Mullally, K., *Ritter, C., Mela, M., & Pei, J. (2020). Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder and neurodevelopmental disorders: An international practice survey of forensic mental health clinicians. International Journal of Forensic Mental Health, 20(2): 177-197.  https://doi.org/10.1080/14999013.2020.1852342

Kapasi, A., Pei, J., Kryska, K., Joly, V., Gill, K., Thompson-Hodgetts, S., McLachlan, K., Andrew, G., & Rasmussen C. (2020). Exploring self-regulation strategy use in adolescents with FASD. Journal of Occupational Therapy, Schools, & Early Intervention. https://doi.org/10.1080/19411243.2020.1822260

*Mullally, K., McLachlan, K., MacKillop, E., & Pei, J. (2020). Performance Validity Testing in Justice-Involved Adults with Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder. Journal of the International Neuropsychological Society, 26(7), 1-13.  https://doi.org/10.1017/S1355617720000132

McLachlan, K., Amlung M., & Chaimowitz, G. A. (2020). Screening for fetal alcohol spectrum disorder in forensic mental health settings. The Journal of Forensic Psychiatry and Psychology, 5, 643-666. https://doi.org/10.1080/14789949.2020.1781919

McLachlan, K., Zhou, D., Rasmussen, C., Pei, J., Andrew, G., Reynolds, J., & Beaulieu, C. (2020). Current socioeconomic status correlates with brain volumes in healthy children and adolescents but not in children with prenatal alcohol exposure. Frontiers: Human Neuroscience. https://doi.org/10.3389/fnhum.2020.00223

McLachlan, K., Vavasour, I., MacKay, A., Brain, U., Oberlander, T., Loock, C., ... & Beaulieu, C. (2019). Myelin water fraction imaging of the brain in children with prenatal alcohol exposure. Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research, 43(5), 833-841.

McLachlan, K., Andrew, G., Pei, J., & Rasmussen, C. (2015).  Assessing FASD in Young Children: Exploring Clinical Complexities and Diagnostic Challenges. Journal of Population Therapeutics and Clinical Pharmacology, 22: e108-e124.McLachlan, K., Rasmussen, C., Oberlander, T., Loock, C., Reynolds, J., & Weinberg, J.  (2016). Dysregulation of the Cortisol Diurnal Rhythm following Prenatal Alcohol Exposure and Early Life Adversity. Alcohol. DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.alcohol.2016.03.003.

McLachlan, K., Roesch, R., Viljoen, J. L., & Douglas, K. S. (2014). Evaluating the Psycholegal Abilities of Young Offenders with Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder. Law and Human Behavior, 38, 10-22.  DOI: 10.1037/lhb0000037.

Racine, E., Bell, E., Yan, A. Andrew, G., Bell, L., Clarke, M., Dubljevic, V., Goldowitz, D. Janvier, A., McLachlan, K., Muhajarine, N., Nicholas, D., Oskoui, M., Rasmussen, C., Rasmussen, L., Roberts, W., Shevell, M.,Wade, L., & Yager, J. Y. (2014). Ethical challenges of transition from pediatric to adult health care services for young adults with neurodevelopmental disabilities, Pediatric Child Health, 1, 65-68.

LaFrance, M.A., McLachlan, K., Nash, K., Andrew, G., Loock, C., Oberlander, T., Koren, G., & Rasmussen, C. (2014). Evaluation of the Neurobehavioral Screening Tool in Children With Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD). Journal of Population Therapeutics and Clinical Pharmacology, 21: e197-e:210.

Rogers, B. J.*, McLachlan, K., & Roesch, R. (2013). Resilience and enculturation among young offenders with fetal alcohol spectrum disorder. First Peoples Child and Family Review, 8, 62-80.

McLachlan, K., Roesch, R., & Douglas, K. (2011). Examining the role of interrogative suggestibility in Miranda rights comprehension in adolescents. Law and Human Behavior, 35, 165–177. DOI: 10.1007/s10979-009-9198-4.

Viljoen, J., McLachlan, K., Wingrove, T., & Penner, E. (2010). Defense attorneys’ concerns about the legal capacities of juvenile defendants. Behavioral Sciences and the Law, 28, 630-646.

Viljoen, J., McLachlan, K., & Vincent, G. (2010). Assessing reoffense risk and psychopathy in juvenile and adult offenders: A survey of clinical practices. Assessment, 17, 377-395.

Selected Books

Constanzo, M., Krauss, D., Schuller, R., & McLachlan, K. (2014). Forensic and Legal Psychology: First Canadian Edition. Worth Publishers.

Roesch, R., & McLachlan, K. (Eds.) (2007). Psychology and law: Clinical forensic perspectives. Hampshire, UK: Ashgate.