LifeNet Independent Living Support Program

What is LifeNet?

LifeNet is a private pay, independent living support program for adults with Asperger's or similar autism spectrum profiles. LifeNet is designed to address questions like:

  • "How will I get the support I need as I transition to living on my own?" or
    "Who can help me continue to live independently as I grow older?" – Adult
  • "Who can help my adult family member manage their needs and live more independently of us?" – Parent

LifeNet offers peace of mind that an adult on the spectrum will be supported as they navigate adulthood by a devoted team of AANE professionals who understand them.

25th Anniversary Snapshot   LifeNet Independent Living Support Program

Origin:  In 2017, a longtime member of the AANE community and a single mother searched for long term assistance for her adult son on the spectrum. Finding no suitable existing options, she gave AANE a grant to explore the creation of an independent living support program. 

Program Development:  Jay O’Brien, current Director of LifeNet, led a 2018 study guided by an Advisory Committee of autistic adults, family members, clinicians, attorneys, and financial planners to explore creating an adult independent living support program. 

Began:  In 2019, AANE launched the LifeNet program with 15 Massachusetts-based adults.

Growth:  As of mid-2021 there are 11 LifeNet staff members supporting 60 adults in both Massachusetts and Connecticut.  

What does the LifeNet program provide?

LifeNet offers caring support and companionship for adults on the spectrum over their lifetime across a full range of everyday tasks and responsibilities such as:

  • Developing executive functioning skills and strategies
  • Maintaining a healthy and safe living environment in their apartment or home
  • Arranging and keeping healthcare and dental appointments
  • Tending to nutrition, food safety, exercise and hygiene
  • Managing budgets, bills, benefits and money
  • Engaging socially – around their interests and at their pace
  • Pursuing productive employment and/or volunteer opportunities
  • Shopping and errands, transportation and travel guidance, and more

LifeNet delivers this personal support and advocacy in multiple ways:

  • Holding regular check-ins and in-person visits
  • Responding to questions or issues as they arise
  • Monitoring and responding to changes in well-being
  • Developing frustration tolerance and emotional regulation skills
  • Assessing options and supporting good decision-making
  • Addressing unmet needs, and making progress toward personal goals
  • Help completing forms/paperwork and meeting deadlines
  • Coordinating between providers and others in the adult’s support network
  • Managing transitions of all kinds

Who’s on the LifeNet Team?

More than just a single caseworker, each LifeNet adult is supported by a team of people who have experience in understanding and meeting the needs of adults on the autism spectrum:

  • Personal Advocate (clinical case manager) – licensed, master’s-level occupational therapist, social worker, or similar clinical professional
  • Support Partner – field-based direct support professional
  • Clinical Supervisor – LICSW or other advanced supervisory clinician
  • LifeNet Program Director – overall administrator and ombudsman
  • Host Family – volunteer local family who shares meals and companionship with a LifeNet adult
  • Peer/Friend – a similar-age adult peer matched from within the AANE community

Would you like to learn more about the LifeNet Team? Would you consider volunteering with LifeNet?

Together, the LifeNet Team serves as both a support network and safety net of professionals and volunteers who care for and develop relationships with the adults in the LifeNet program, offering them a greater sense of community and belonging.

Click here to read actual stories of how the LifeNet Team supports adults enrolled in our program.

Click below for details about LifeNet near you!




New York

AANE LifeNet Contact

Jay O’Brien, LifeNet Program Director |  617-393-3824 ext. 260  |