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Assoc. Prof. Ashleigh Hillier runs a monthly social event for high-functioning young people with Autism Spectrum Disorder.

The Network

The Network: A Monthly Social Networking Program for adolescents and young adults on the autism spectrum.

Overview

The Network is a monthly social networking program for high functioning adolescents and young adults on the autism spectrum aged between 16-30 years. The goal is to provide those with ASD an opportunity to meet others and hopefully make connections.

The Network takes place once a month on a Wednesday (usually the first Wednesday of the month) from 6-7:30 p.m. Sometimes we meet at the UMass Lowell south campus and sometimes we hang out somewhere else (e.g. pizza, bowling, etc.).

There is a $75 annual fee to participate in The Network. This fee also covers the parent group which meets at the same time and place (scholarships are available for those who cannot afford the fee). Ashleigh Hillier, Ph.D. is the Program Director and an Associate Professor of Psychology at the University of Massachusetts Lowell.

Our FAQ can be found below. Please follow this link or scroll to the bottom of the page for Contact information, Enrollment Forms, the latest meeting schedule and details on how to Volunteer.

The Network: Frequently Asked Questions

  • When and where are The Network meetings?

    The Network meetings take place once a month from 6-7:30 p.m., usually on the first Wednesday of the month. Some meetings take place on UMass Lowell south campus and some are off-campus such as going for pizza, going bowling, etc. You will receive a schedule of Network meeting events for the year so you will know what is coming up.

  • What is the main aim of The Network program?

    To provide a comfortable environment for group members to meet and make connections with one another. Ideally, people in the group will arrange to meet up outside of The Network and form lasting and rewarding friendships. Another goal is TO HAVE FUN!!

  • Who is eligible for The Network?

    The Network is for high functioning adolescents and young adults on the autism spectrum who are aged between 16 and 30 years, and their parents / guardians.

    Participants must provide proof of diagnosis to participate in The Network (e.g. a recent neuropsychological report, letter from psychiatrist / psychologist etc.).

  • Should I attend The Network every month?

    It is important to attend The Network as often as possible in order to increase your likelihood of making friends with others in the group. Sometimes you may find a particular meeting more enjoyable than others depending on what activities you like doing.

  • How much does it cost to participate in The Network?

    There is an annual fee of $75 to be a member of The Network. This fee also covers the parent group (scholarships are available for those who cannot afford the fee). Also, sometimes when we are off campus you may need to bring some money with you. If we go out to eat or to some other event, then you will need money for that and perhaps some spending money too. When we are on campus we ask that members bring a snack item with them to share with the rest of the group. This might be a bottle of soda or juice, chips, cookies, fruit etc.

  • Should I bring anything with me to The Network meetings?

    When we have a meeting on campus participants are requested to bring a snack item to share with the other group members. This might be a bottle of soda, water, cookies, chips, fruit etc.

  • Do parents / guardians attend The Network meetings?

    Parents / guardians have their own separate parent group which takes place at the same time as the group members’ meetings (once a month 6-7:30 p.m., usually first Wednesday of the month). The $75 fee also covers the parent group.

  • Who runs The Network program?

    Ashleigh Hillier, Ph.D. is the Program Director and a Psychology associate professor at the University of Massachusetts Lowell. Hillier has spent many years working with adolescents and young adults on the autism spectrum, particularly in offering various different programs.

    In addition, UMass Lowell undergraduate and graduate students are involved in The Network. These students provide excellent role models for those in the program. Many of the students intend to move in to professional positions working with people on the autism spectrum when they graduate. Therefore, The Network provides an extremely important opportunity for them to gain experience and the skills they will need to be effective and successful professionals. Students participate for course credit, or as volunteers. Please see the section on volunteer opportunities for more information.

  • What is the next step for joining The Network?

    You can complete an Enrollment Form (see below). This form can either be emailed or mailed to Associate prof. Hillier (contact information below). Hillier will then review the enrollment and if it seems like you / your son / daughter is a good match for The Network she will contact you with further details. You must also mail your proof of diagnosis with the enrollment form (e.g. recent neuropsychological report, letter from psychiatrist / psychologist, etc.).

Contact

Ashleigh Hillier, Ph.D.
Associate Professor
Department of Psychology
University of Massachusetts Lowell
113 Wilder Street, Suite 300
Lowell, MA 01854-3059
Phone: 978-934-2930
Email: ashleigh_hillier@uml.edu

Enrollment Forms

Enrollment forms are available as a fillable pdf or as a word document. Both can be filled out on your computer or mobile device as well printed and filled out.

2017 Schedule

You will need Adobe Acrobat Reader to view any pdf files. It can be download for free from the Adobe website.

Volunteer Opportunities

Students at the University of Massachusetts Lowell who are interested in getting involved in the Network program should contact Ashleigh Hillier by email at: ashleigh_hillier@uml.edu.