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Ashleigh Hillier


UMass Lowell Professor, Ashleigh Hillier sitting at her desk and smiling.
Ashleigh J. Hillier, Ph.D.Professor, Director
  • College
    College of Fine Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences
  • Department
    Psychology
  • Phone
    (978) 934-2930
  • Fax
    (978) 934-3074
  • Office
    Health and Social Sciences Building - 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) 206-219.
  • Hillier, A.J., Galizzi, M., Ferrante, K. (2017). Healthcare experiences of young adults with autism spectrum disorder. Advances in Autism, 3(4) 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, 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) 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) 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.
  • Hillier, A., Galizzi, M. (2014). Employment Outcomes for Young Adults with Autism Spectrum Disorders. Review of Disability Studies: An International Journal, 10(1) 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, 31 436-443.
  • 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) 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, 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)) 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) 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) 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)) 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, 4 210-216.
  • 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)) 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)) 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)) 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)) 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)) 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)) 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)) 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, 29 610-616.
  • 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)) 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)) 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 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, 19 468-478.
  • 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, 22 107-115.
  • 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)) 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 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, 19 194-201.
  • 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, 19 204-207.
  • Hillier, A.J., Alexander, J.K., Beversdorf, D.Q. (2006). The Effect of Auditory Stressors on Cognitive Flexibility. Neurocase, 12 228-231.
  • 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, 19 157-164.
  • 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, 35 471-478.
  • Hillier, A.J., Allinson, L.J. (2002). Beyond Expectations: Autism, Understanding Embarrassment, and the Relationship with Theory of Mind. Autism, 6 299-314.
  • 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, 32 583-592.

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