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Ashleigh Hillier

UMass Lowell Professor, Ashleigh Hillier sitting at her desk and smiling.
Ashleigh J. HillierAssociate Professor, Director
  • College
    College of Fine Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences
  • Department
    Psychology
  • Phone
    (978) 934-2930
  • Fax
    (978) 934-3074
  • Office
    - 309
  • Email
  • Profile Links

Research Interests

Autism spectrum disorder; adolescents and young adults; adult outcome, transition; employment; college/university; mentoring

Dr. Hillier’s research interests focus on adolescents and adults with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). She is interested in transition and adult outcomes including employment and college success. Dr. Hillier's applied research focuses on evaluating various program interventions for those with ASD including a college preparation mentoring program "Horizons", a social networking group "The Network", and programs for UMass Lowell students with ASD including "Connections" and the "Student to Student Mentoring Program". She is also interested in processing and understanding of affective material, physiological responsiveness to emotion eliciting stimuli, and responses to music among those with ASD. Ashleigh also directs the Center for Autism Research and Education (CARE), and is coordinator for the Interdisciplinary Minor in Disability Studies.

Education

  • Other: Department of Neurology, (2004), Ohio State University Medical Center - Columbus, OH
  • Ph D: Psychology, (2000), University of Lincoln - Lincoln, United Kingdom
    Dissertation/Thesis Title: The relationship between understanding complex emotions and theory of mind among children and adolescents with autism.
  • BS: Psychology, (1995), University of Lincolnshire and Humberside - Hull, United Kingdom

Biography

Before joining the Department of Psychology at UMass Lowell, Dr. Hillier was a Postdoctoral Fellow and Research Scientist at the Department of Neurology at the Ohio State University. Dr. Hillier has taught Introductory Psychology courses, and undergraduate and graduate courses related to (dis)ability.

Selected Awards and Honors

  • Best Oral Presentation Award (2017), Scholarship/Research - British Psychological Society, Psychology of Sexualities Section
  • Department of Psychology Teaching Excellence Award (2010), Teaching - University of Massachusetts Lowell
  • International Scholar Award (2003) - Ohio State University

Selected Publications

  • Hillier, A.J., Goldstein, J. (University of Massachusetts Lowell), Murphy, D. (University of Massachusetts Lowell), Trietsch, R. (University of Massachusetts Lowell), Keeves, J. (University of Massachusetts Lowell), Mendes, E. (University of Massachusetts Lowell), Queenan, A. (University of Massachusetts Lowell), (University of Massachusetts Lowell) (2018) "Supporting university students with autism spectrum disorder. ," Autism: International Journal of Research and Practice.
  • White, D., Hillier, A.J., Frye, A.A., Makrez, E. (2018) "College Students’ Knowledge and Attitudes towards Students on the Autism Spectrum.," Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders
  • Hillier, A.J., Galizzi, M. (University of Massachusetts Lowell), Ferrante, K. (University of Massachusetts Lowell) (2017) "Health care experiences for Adults with Autism Spectrum Disorder.," Advances in Autism 3:4 pp. 206-219
  • McCabe, A., Hillier, A.J., DaSilva, C., Queenan, A., Tauras, M. (2017) "Parental Mediation in the Improvement of Narrative Skills of High-Functioning Individuals With Autism Spectrum Disorder," Communication Disorders Quarterly pp. 1525740116669114
  • Greher, G., Hillier, A., Queenan, A., Marshall, S., Kopec, J. (2016) "Music, Technology and Adolescents with Autism Spectrum Disorders: The Effectiveness of the Touch Screen Interface," Music Education Research 18:3 pp. 269
  • Abreu, M., Hillier, A.J., Frye, A.A., Goldstein, J. (2016) "Student Experiences Utilizing Disability Support Services in a University Setting. ," College Student Journal 50:3 pp. 323 - 328
  • Hillier, A.J., Kopec, J., Poto, N., Tivarus, M., Beversdorf, D.Q. (2015) "Increased Physiological Responsiveness to Preferred Music among Young Adults with Autism Spectrum Disorders," Psychology of Music Psychology of Music
  • Greher, G.R., Hillier, A.J., Queenan, A., Marshall, S.H., Kopec, J. (2015) "Music, Technology and Adolescents with Autism Spectrum Disorders: The Effectiveness of the Touch Screen Interface," Music Education Research
  • Galizzi, M., Hillier, A. (2014) "Employment Outcomes for Young Adults with Autism Spectrum Disorders," Review of Disability Studies: An International Journal 10:1 pp. 69-82
  • Kopec, J., Hillier, A.J., Frye, A. (2014) "The Valency of Music has Different Effects on the Emotional Responses of Those with Autism Spectrum Disorders and a Comparison Group," Music Perception 31: pp. 436-443
  • Hillier, A.J., Kopec, J., Donnelly, S. (2014) "Preparing for University Life: A Program Evaluation," 13th International Meeting for Autism Research
  • Greher, G., Marshall, S., Hillier, A., Queenan, A., Prestigiovanni, A., Kopec, J. (2014) "Technology and Teens with ASD: A "Social" Project through a Music Education and Psychology Partnership," The College Music Society 2014 Summit
  • Murphy, D., Hillier, A.J., Kopec, J., Keeler, S. (2014) "Positive Outcomes of a Physical Activity Program on Young Adults on the Autism Spectrum," Combined Sections Meeting of the American Physical Therapy Association
  • Murphy, D., Hillier, A.J., Kopec, J., Keeler, S. (2013) "Interprofessional Teaching: Partnership to enhance student experiential learning," Educational Leadership Conference
  • McCabe, A., Hillier, A.J., Shapiro, C. (2013) "Structure of Personal Narratives of Adults with Autism Spectrum Disorder," Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders 43:7 pp. 733-738
  • McCabe, A., Hillier, A.J., Shapiro, C. (2012) "Brief Report: Structure of Personal Narratives of Adults with Autism Spectrum Disorder," Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders pp. 1-6
  • Hillier, A.J., Greher, G., Poto, N., Dougherty, M. (2012) "Positive Outcomes Following Participation in a Music Intervention for Adolescents and Young Adults on the Autism Spectrum," Psychology of Music 40:(2) pp. 201-215
  • Hillier, A.J., Murphy, D.A., Ferrara, C. (2011) "A Pilot Study: Short-term Reduction in Salivary Cortisol Following Low Level Physical Exercise and Relaxation among Adolescents and Young Adults on the Autism Spectrum," Stress & Health: Journal of the International Society for the Investigation of Stress 27:5 pp. 395-402
  • Hillier, A.J., Murphy, D.A., Ferrara, C. (2011) "A Pilot Study: Short-term Reduction in Salivary Cortisol Following Low Level Physical Exercise and Relaxation among Adolescents and Young Adults on the Autism Spectrum," Stress & Health: Journal of the International Society for the Investigation of Stress 27:5 pp. 395-402
  • Hillier, A.J., Fish, T., Siegel, J.H., Beversdorf, D.Q. (2011) "Social and Vocational Skills Training Reduces Self-reported Anxiety and Depression Among Young Adults on the Autism Spectrum," Journal of Developmental and Physical Disabilities 23:(3) pp. 267-276
  • Chowdhury, M., Benson, B.A., Hillier, A.J. (2010) "Changes in Restricted Repetitive Behaviors with Age in High-functioning Adults on the Autism Spectrum," Research in Autism Spectrum Disorders 4: pp. 210-216
  • Kim, N., Goel, P.K., Tivarus, M.E., Hillier, A.J., Beversdorf, D.Q. (2010) "Independent Component Analysis of the Effect of L-dopa on fMRI of Language Processing," PLoS ONE 5:(8) pp. 1-10
  • Greher, G., Hillier, A.J., Dougherty, M., Poto, N. (2010) "SoundScape: An Interdisciplinary Music Intervention for Adolescents and Young Adults on the Autism Spectrum," International Journal of Education and the Arts 11:(9) pp. 1-27
  • Cios, J.S., Miller, R.F., Hillier, A.J., Tivarus, M.E., Beversdorf, D.Q. (2009) "Lack of Noradrenergic Modulation of Indirect Semantic Priming," Behavioural Neurology 21:(3-4) pp. 137-143
  • Beversdorf, D.Q., Carpenter, A.L., Miller, R.F., Cios, J.S., Hillier, A.J. (2008) "Effect of Propranolol on Verbal Problem Solving in Autism Spectrum Disorder," Neurocase 14:(4) pp. 378-383
  • Tivarus, M.E., Hillier, A.J., Schmalbrock, P., Beversdorf, D.Q. (2008) "Functional Connectivity in an fMRI Study of Semantic and Phonological Processes and the Effect of l-Dopa," Brain and language 104:(1) pp. 42-50
  • Campbell, H.L., Tivarus, M.E., Hillier, A.J., Beversdorf, D.Q. (2008) "Increased Task Difficulty Results in Greater Impact of Noradrenergic Modulation of Cognitive Flexibility," Pharmacology Biochemistry and Behavior 88:(3) pp. 222-229
  • Hillier, A.J., Beversdorf, D.Q., Raymer, A.M., Williamson, D.J., Heilman, K.M. (2007) "Abnormal Emotional Word Ratings in Parkinson's Disease," Neurocase 13:(2) pp. 81-85
  • Hillier, A.J., Campbell, H., Keillor, J., Phillips, N. (2007) "Decreased False Memory for Visually Presented Shapes and Symbols Among Adults on the Autism Spectrum," Journal of Clinical and Experimental Neuropsychology 29: pp. 610-616
  • Beversdorf, D.Q., Sharma, U.K., Phillips, N.N., Notestine, M.A., Slivka, A.P., Friedman, N.M., Schneider, S.L., Nagaraja, H.N., Hillier, A.J. (2007) "Effect of Propranolol on Naming in Chronic Broca's Aphasia with Anomia," Neurocase 13:(4) pp. 256-259
  • Ishizuka, K., Hillier, A.J., Beversdorf, D.Q. (2007) "Effect of the Cold Pressor Test on Memory and Cognitive Flexibility," Neurocase 13:(3) pp. 154-157
  • Beversdorf, D.Q., Narayanan, A., Hillier, A.J., Hughes, J.D. (2007) "Network Model of Decreased Context Utilization in Autism Spectrum Disorder," Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders 37: pp. 1040-1048
  • Alexander, J.K., Hillier, A.J., Smith, R.M., Tivarus, M.E. (2007) "Noradrenergic Modulation of Cognitive Flexibility During Stress," Journal of cognitive neuroscience 19: pp. 468-478
  • Hillier, A.J., Fish, T., Cloppert, P. (2007) "Outcomes of a Social and Vocational Skills Support Group for Young Adults on the Autism Spectrum," Focus on Autism and Other Developmental Disabilities 22: pp. 107-115
  • Beversdorf, D.Q., Ferguson, J.L., Hillier, A.J., Sharma, U.K., Nagaraja, H.N., Bornstein, R.A., Scharre, D.W. (2007) "Problem Solving Ability in Patients with Mild Cognitive Impairment," Cognitive and Behavioral Neurology 20:(1) pp. 44-47
  • Hillier, A.J., Campbell, H., Mastriani, K., Izzo, M.V. (2007) "Two-year Evaluation of a Vocational Support Program for Adults on the Autism Spectrum," Career Development for Exceptional Individuals 30: pp. 35-47
  • Tivarus, M.E., Ibinson, J.W., Hillier, A.J., Schmalbrock, P. (2006) "An fMRI study of Semantic Priming: Modulation of Brain Activity by Varying Semantic Distances," Cognitive and Behavioral Neurology 19: pp. 194-201
  • Choi, Y., Novak, J., Hillier, A.J., Votolato, N. (2006) "The Effect of Alpha-2 Adrenergic Agonists on Memory and Cognitive Flexibility," Cognitive and Behavioral Neurology 19: pp. 204-207
  • Hillier, A.J., Alexander, J.K., Beversdorf, D.Q. (2006) "The Effect of Auditory Stressors on Cognitive Flexibility," Neurocase 12: pp. 228-231
  • Smith, R.M., Tivarus, M.E., Campbell, H.L., Hillier, A.J., Beversdorf, D.Q. (2006) "Transient Effects of Recent Ecstasy use on Cognitive Performance and Extrapyramidal Signs in Human Subjects," Cognitive and Behavioral Neurology 19: pp. 157-164
  • Beversdorf, D.Q., Manning, S.E., Hillier, A.J., Anderson, S.L. (2005) "Timing of Prenatal Stressors and Autism," Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders 35: pp. 471-478
  • Hillier, A.J., Allinson, L.J. (2002) "Beyond Expectations: Autism, Understanding Embarrassment, and the Relationship with Theory of Mind," Autism 6: pp. 299-314
  • Hillier, A.J., Allinson, L.J. (2002) "Understanding Embarrassment Among those with Autism: Breaking Down the Complex Emotion of Embarrassment Among Those with Autism," Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders 32: pp. 583-592

Selected Contracts, Fellowships, Grants and Sponsored Research

  • Specialization in Developmental Disabilities (2007), Grant - Department of Developmental Services
    Hillier, A.J. (Principal)
  • Interdisciplinary Course Incorporating Classroom Technology to Enchance Student Understanding of Assistive Technology and Disability (2010), Grant -
    Hillier, A.J.
  • Fit and Fun: A Physical Activity and Relaxation Program for Community Dwelling Underserved Youth on the Autism Spectrum (2009), Grant - Joseph P. Healey Endowment Grant
  • Evaluation of an Interdisciplinary Music Intervention for Adolescents and Young Adults on the Autism Spectrum (2008), Grant - Joseph P. Healey Endowment Grant
  • Aspirations: A Social and Vocational Support Group Program for Adolescents and Young Adults with Autism Spectrum Disorder (2007), Grant - Theodore Edson Parker Foundation
  • Interdisciplinary Community Based Fitness Program Integrated in an Exercise Physiology Capstone Course (2007), Grant - Teaching and Learning Grant
  • Physiological Markers of Stress and their Relationship to Health and Disability (2007), Grant - School of Health & Environment Seed Grant
  • Aspirations: Social and vocational Skills Support Group Program for Adolescents a (2007), Grant -
    Hillier, A.J. (Principal)
  • A Web-Based Employment Training Program for Individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorder (2005), Grant - The Gray Center for Social Learning and Understanding
  • Pharmacological Modulation of Functional Connectivity in Autism Spectrum Disorder (2005), Grant - National Association for Autism Research
  • Vocational Support Project for People with Autism Spectrum Disorder (2005), Grant - Ingram-White Castle Foundation
  • Vocational Support Project for People with Autism Spectrum Disorder (2002), Grant - Ingram-White Castle Foundation
  • Synthetic Human Secretin in Children with Autism (2002), Grant - Repligan Corporation/Pharmaceutical sponsored clinical trial
  • Vocational Rehabilitation for High-Functioning Adults with Autism Spectrum Disorder (2002), Grant - Henry E. Coyle Fund of The Columbus Foundation