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

 

The Network: Brief 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 6.00-7.30pm. 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 a Psychology professor at the University of Massachusetts Lowell.

The Network: Frequently Asked Questions.

 

1)      When and where are The Network meetings?

The Network meetings take place once a month from 6.00-7.30pm, 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.

 

2)      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!!

 

3)      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.).

 

4)      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.

 

5)      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.

 

6)      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.

 

7)      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 membersí meetings (once a month 6.00-7.30pm, usually first Wednesday of the month). The $75 fee also covers the parent group.

 

8)      Who runs The Network program?

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, 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 below on volunteer opportunities for more information.

 

9) What is the next step for joining The Network?

 

You can complete an Enrollment Form. 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 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 Dr. Hillier at:

 

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

 

 

THE NETWORK MONTHLY SCHEDULE 2016

 

 

CHANGES MAY BE MADE TO THE SCHEDULE.

 

Wednesday 6th January 6.00-7.30pm.

Everyone: Pizza Night at Dominoes Pizza on Mammoth Road in Lowell (77 Mammoth Rd, Lowell, MA 01854). See menu at: http://www.allmenus.com/ma/lowell/84531-dominos-pizza/menu/

Parking might be a little tight so try parking nearby on Ellis Ave or Third Ave which both run adjacent to 77 Mammoth Rd where the store is now.

(Parents very welcome too and can sit in a different area).

 

Wednesday 3rd February 6.00-7.30pm. Health and Social Sciences Building, 3rd floor, 113 Wilder Street, Lowell, 01854.

Group Members: Games Night. Please bring a group board game that you enjoy playing and a snack to share.

Parents/Guardians: Networking with other parents; sharing ideas and resources.

  

Wednesday 2nd March 6.00-7.30pm. UMass Lowell McGauvran Student Center, 113 Wilder Street, Lowell, 01854.

Everyone: Subway or Freshii (specializes in wraps, burritos, salads and smoothies).

(Parents very welcome too and can sit in a different area).

 

Wednesday 6th April 6.00-7.30pm. Moe’s in Chelmsford (near Hannafords, Walmart, etc. on Drum Hill Road: 90 Drum Hill Road, Chelmsford, MA 01824, 978-459-6637.

Everyone: We will meet at Moe’s in Chelmsford and hang out. (Parents very welcome too and can sit in a different area).

 

Wednesday 4th May 6.00-7.30pm. Health and Social Sciences Building, 3rd floor, 113 Wilder Street, Lowell, 01854.

Group Members: Snacks and “speed friendship” activity. Please bring a snack to share.

Parents/Guardians: Networking with other parents; sharing ideas and resources.

 

Wednesday 1st June: 6.00-7.30pm

Everyone: Pizza Night at Papa Ginos. 21 Wood Street, Middlesex Plaza, Lowell, 01851. Please bring $5 to put towards pizzas we will share (if you don’t like / can’t eat pizza then hopefully you can find something else on their menu. Visit their website to see menu: www.papaginos.com).

(Parents very welcome too and can sit in a different area).

 

Wednesday 6th July: 6-7.30pm

Everyone: Ice-cream and mini golf at Kimball Farm in Westford (400 Littleton Road (110), Westford 01886; www.kimballfarm.com/westford).

 

Wednesday 3rd August: 6.45pm-10pm-ish

Everyone: Lowell Spinners game at LaLacheur park in Lowell. 450 Aiken St., Lowell, MA 01854. Parking is $5. Tickets are between $7-$15. More details nearer the time.

 

Wednesday 7th September: 6.00-7.30pm. Jay Gees in Methuen

Everyone: Jay Gees has ice-cream, go karts, mini golf, and an arcade. 602 Lowell Street, Methuen, MA 01844; 978-689-0456.; jaygees.com

 

Wednesday 45 October 4.00-6.00pm.

Everyone: Candle pin bowling and arcade at Wamesit Lanes in Tewksbury (434 Main Street, Tewksbury, MA 01876; http://wamesitlanes.com).

 

Wednesday 2nd November: 6.00-7.30pm. Health and Social Sciences Building, 3rd floor.

Group Members: Snacks and sharing our hobbies / interests / talents. Please bring a snack to share.

Parents/Guardians: Networking with other parents; sharing ideas and resources.

 

Wednesday 7th December. 6.00-7.30pm.

Everyone: Roller Kingdom in Tyngsboro (355 Middlesex Rd, Tyngsboro, MA 01879; www.rollerkingdom.com). They also have laser tag, snack bar and an arcade.

 

 

 

 

The Network: Volunteer Opportunities

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

 

 

Dr. Hillier's Home Page