University of Massachusetts Lowell
Movie Club for adolescents and young adults on the autism spectrum.
The Movie Club: Brief Overview.
The Movie Club is for high-functioning adolescents and young adults with autism spectrum disorders (e.g. Asperger’s syndrome) aged between 13-30 years. Ashleigh Hillier, Ph.D. is the Director of the Movie Club and a Psychology professor at the University of Massachusetts Lowell. The next available Movie Club will run in October 2014. Sessions take place once a week for 9 weeks on UMass Lowell's south campus in the late afternoon (typically 4.30-7.00pm). There is a $50 fee to participate in The Movie Club (scholarships are available for those who cannot afford the fee).
Click here for the Movie Club brochure.
The Movie Club: Frequently Asked Questions.
1) When and where are The Movie Club meetings?
The next available Movie Club will run in October 2014. Sessions take place once a week for 9-weeks on UMass Lowell south campus from 4.30-7.00pm. Directions will be sent to interested participants.
2) What are the main aims of The Movie Club program?
The Movie Club aims to enable participants to increase their self-esteem, self-awareness, social and communication skills, and peer relationships. During the sessions participants will:
Enhance social skills during structured social activities at the end of each session.
Have a fun and relaxing time watching a movie together.
Practice evaluating and reflecting on the movies at the end of each session.
Meet other adolescents and young adults on the autism spectrum, and possibly make friends.
UML Students: In addition, UMass Lowell undergraduate and graduate students are involved in the Movie Club. 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 Movie Club provides a unique opportunity to work with adolescents and young adults on the autism spectrum and to connect and apply course content to practical applications. Through their participation students are able to gain the experience and skills they will need to be effective and successful professionals. Students participate for course credit, or as volunteers. Please contact Dr. Hillier for more information, and see the section below on volunteer opportunities.
Research component: As part of The Movie Club participants and parents are asked to complete some questionnaires before and after the program (although this is not necessary to participate in The Movie Club). This is critical in enabling Dr. Hillier to evaluate the efficacy of the intervention. Once our program model is empirically demonstrated to be effective, The Movie Club can serve as a model to other organizations around the country who are interested in conducting similar programs. This is very important as few programs currently exist for adolescents and young adults on the autism spectrum.
3) Who is eligible for The Movie Club?
The Movie Club is for high functioning adolescents and young adults on the autism spectrum (e.g. Asperger’s syndrome) who are aged between 13 and 30 years. Participants must provide proof of diagnosis to participate in the Movie Club (e.g. a recent neuropsychological report, letter from psychiatrist / psychologist etc.).
4) How will we decide which movies to watch in The Movie Club?
Each week participants will vote on a movie from a list of three options.
5) How much does it cost to participate in The Movie Club?
There is a $50 fee to take part in The Movie Club (scholarships are available for those who cannot afford the fees). This covers expenses of the program such as popcorn and soda.
6) Do parents attend The Movie Club meetings?
Parents are encouraged to participate in an informal parent support group while their son / daughter attends The Movie Club. A room close by will be available for this purpose.
7) Who runs the Movie Club?
Ashleigh Hillier, Ph.D. is the Program Director and a Psychology professor at the University of Massachusetts Lowell. Dr. Hillier has spent many years working with adolescents and young adults on the autism spectrum and currently runs a number of other programs including “The Network” monthly social and vocational skills program, the “SoundScape” music program, and the "Horizons" college preparation mentoring program. Further information about these other programs, as well as Dr. Hillier’s resume, can be found on the main page of this website: http://faculty.uml.edu/ahillier
What is the next step for
The Movie Club?
You can complete an Enrollment Form (or contact Dr. Hillier for one). This form can either be emailed or mailed to Dr. Hillier (contact information below). Dr. Hillier will then review the enrollment and if it seems like you / your son / daughter is a good match for The Movie Club 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 Dr. Hillier at:
Ashleigh Hillier, Ph.D.
Department of Psychology
University of Massachusetts Lowell
1 Mahoney Hall
870 Broadway Street
Lowell, MA 01851
9) What have previous members said about The Movie Club?
“I thought it (Movie Club) was really fun. I don’t get to do much so I enjoyed coming.” Movie Club Member 2008.
“It was a good place to go and relax.” Movie Club Member 2008.
“The best part was talking to the other people.” Movie Club Member 2008.
"I've learned there's more to life than just actions movies. Have a little adventure in your soul." Movie Club Member 2012.
"We have nothing to improve, the group is perfect." Movie Club Member 2012.
The Movie Club: Volunteer Opportunities
Students at the University of Massachusetts Lowell who are interested in getting involved in the Movie Club should contact Dr. Hillier at firstname.lastname@example.org. This can be done as a volunteer, or for course credit as a Community Service course (47.486). What have previous students involved in the program said about their experiences?:
"Participating in the Movie Club was incredibly beneficial to me. It allowed me to make a great start at making the most of my time at university, gave me a chance to do something for other people, and helped me gain a lot of confidence." Psychology student involved in Spring 2008.
"This was my last semester at UMass Lowell and I really wanted to leave the university having made a difference in others' lives. The Movie Club gave me that opportunity. Here, I was able to positively influence a group of individuals while they also positively influenced me. This was a wonderful chance for me to go outside myself and be a part of something beneficial." Psychology student involved in Spring 2008.
The Movie Club: How to Make a Donation
Donations are extremely helpful to maintain and enhance The Movie Club. Monetary donations can be made by writing a check to: University of Massachusetts at Lowell - The Movie Club and mailing it to: Ashleigh Hillier, Ph.D., University of Massachusetts at Lowell, Psychology Department, 1 Mahoney Hall, 870 Broadway Street, Lowell, MA 01864. A letter of acknowledgement and appreciation will be issued by the University for donations that are made to The Movie Club. The acknowledgement letter can be used as a receipt when filing taxes.
Dr. Hillier's Home Page