LifeNet (Massachusetts)

AANE’s “LifeNet” Independent Living Support Program

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:

"Who will support our adult child when we're gone?" – Parent

"How will I get the support I need to live on my own?" – Adult

LifeNet offers peace of mind that an adult on the spectrum will be supported as they navigate adulthood by a devoted team who understands them from the trusted AANE non-profit organization.

What does the LifeNet program provide?

LifeNet offers caring support and companionship for adults on the spectrum across a full range of lifelong responsibilities and everyday tasks 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 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 develop relationships with and care for the adult, 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.

Who’s eligible for the LifeNet program?

To ensure we can meet the needs of all LifeNet clients who enroll in this new program, we’ve developed specific eligibility criteria to guide us, including:

  • Geography: adult lives within ~1 hour drive from AANE’s offices in Watertown, MA (if you're interested in LifeNet but live elsewhere, complete the form below so we can assess demand for future expansion)
  • Age: adults 21+ (will consider younger adults if they are otherwise eligible)
  • Diagnosis: Asperger's or similar autism spectrum profile is the primary condition
  • Co-occurring conditions (e.g. significant mental health needs): will be reviewed on a case-by-case basis, but is/are not the primary diagnosis/es
  • Level of need: adult should be able to live independently with LifeNet-level support
  • Willingness: must be open to engaging and receiving support from the LifeNet Team
  • Client/family resources to fund program: see tiers and fees immediately below

What are the different tiers of LifeNet service, and how much do they cost?

Based on individual needs, resources, preferences, family involvement and other factors, eligible adults/families would be able to register for one of the three levels of LifeNet service:

Tier 1 (‘Comprehensive’ level): The top level of LifeNet service for adults and their parents who want or need to activate the full support team structure now, given their age, health status, geographic distance or other factors. Comprehensive offers the most time and frequency of interactions between the adult client and their LifeNet Team members.
Cost: $24,000/year, with a one-time in-take/personal plan development fee of $1,000.

Tier 2 (‘Basic’ level): A middle level of LifeNet service for those who need less time and support at this stage of the adult’s life than the Comprehensive level, but who want to put the support team in place now for a potential transition in the coming years.
Cost: $12,000/year, with a one-time in-take/personal plan development fee of $1,000.

Tier 3 (‘Introductory’ level): An entry level of LifeNet service, with less frequent interactions than the Comprehensive and Basic tiers, for those who want to begin establishing new support relationships for their adult child now, with an eye toward moving to a higher level of service if and when needed in the future.
Cost: $7,000/year, with a one-time in-take/personal plan development fee of $1,000.

Clients have the ability to move between tiers as their needs change.

Note: In order for AANE to cover our costs and launch this program in a financially sustainable way, there will be no financial aid available at the outset. However, we are actively building the evidence base proving the value of this new program, which we will bring to public and private funders to help make LifeNet accessible to all those who qualify, regardless of income or assets.

We’re interested in learning more. What is my next step?

LifeNet began supporting our first two groups of LifeNet adults and their families in Greater Boston/Eastern Massachusetts in 2019. We’re now enrolling our third Massachusetts group for support beginning later this year or early next. The exact start-of-service date is postponed indefinitely during the coronavirus pandemic; once restrictions are lifted, timing will depend on when we secure our targeted number of adult/family commitments (approximately 15-18 based on service tier distribution; we are more than 50% there as of July 1, 2020).

If you are considering joining the next LifeNet group, or may wish to join a future group, please complete the no-obligation form below and click Submit. We will then email or call you with more information about LifeNet to help you decide and take next steps.


AANE LifeNet Contact

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