The Network: A Monthly Social Networking Program for autistic adolescents and young adults.
The Network is a social networking program for autistic adolescents and young adults aged between 16-30 years. The goal is to provide those with autism an opportunity to meet others and hopefully make connections. We meet at the beginning of the month in-person and in the middle of the month online and you can choose which meetings to come to.
The Network takes place once a month in person (usually the first Wednesday of the month) from 6-7:30 p.m. Sometimes we meet at the UMass Lowell south campus (in Coburn Hall on south campus) and sometimes we hang out somewhere else (e.g. pizza, bowling, etc.). We also meet once a month (usually the third Wednesday of the month) from 6-7:30 p.m. online on a Discord server. During our online meetings we chat and play Jackbox and other games. You will receive a schedule of Network meeting events for the year so you will know what is coming up.
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 for our in-person meetings and on Zoom for our online meetings. Scholarships are available for those who cannot afford the fee. Ashleigh Hillier, Ph.D. is the Program Director and Professor of Psychology at the University of Massachusetts Lowell.
*Subject to change.
If you already have a Discord login, you may join the server by clicking on The Network (UMass Lowell) Discord invitation link.
If you do not have a Discord account, you can follow the steps found on Discord's Getting Started webpage to create an account.
Having the app downloaded is encouraged, as you will not be able to see shared screens if you are only on the online platform.
Once you have your account created, you can click on the above server invitation link and join us!
More information about creating accounts and joining servers for your reference can be found on Discord's How to Set Up Your Discord Account webpage.
If you have any questions or need any help with Discord, please do not hesitate to email Danielle: DanielleMcL15@gmail.com.
Frequently Asked Questions
To provide a comfortable environment for group members to meet and make connections with one another both online and in-person. 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!!
The Network is for adolescents and young adults on the autism spectrum who are aged between 16 and 30 years, and their parents / guardians.
It is best 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.
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 for the in-person meetings, 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.
Parents / guardians have their own separate parent group which takes place at the same time as the group members’ meetings. For the in-person meetings, parents / guardians typically meet together as a group somewhere close to the group members such as in a room next door if we are on-campus. For the online meetings parents meet together in Zoom. The $75 fee also covers the parent group.
Ashleigh Hillier, Ph.D. is the Program Director and a Psychology professor at the University of Massachusetts Lowell. Ashleigh has spent many years working with autistic adolescents and young adults, 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 into professional positions working with people with autism 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.
You can complete an Enrollment Form (see below). This form can either be emailed or mailed to Ashleigh Hillier (Email: Ashleigh_Hillier@uml.edu). Ashleigh will then review the enrollment and contact you with further details.
ContactAshleigh Hillier, Ph.D.
Department of Psychology
University of Massachusetts Lowell
850 Broadway, Suite 300
Lowell, MA 01854-3059
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.
You will need Adobe Acrobat Reader to view any pdf files. It can be download for free from the Adobe website.
Students at the University of Massachusetts Lowell who are interested in getting involved in the Network program should contact Ashleigh Hillier by email at: firstname.lastname@example.org.