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, backed by two trusted non-profit organizations: Autism Services and Resources Connecticut (ASRC) and the Asperger/Autism Network (AANE).
If you or your adult family member may be interested in LifeNet, please complete the form at the end of this page.
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 Case Supervisor – doctoral-level 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
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.
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 an hour's drive of ASRC's Wallingford headquarters, with exact service area to be determined based on demand. (If you live further away, please complete the form below anyway so we can assess demand for future expansion.)
- Age: adults 21+
- 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?
Service tiers, fees, and other program elements are subject to modification as we roll out this program in Connecticut.
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 group of LifeNet adults and their families in Greater Boston/Eastern Massachusetts in January 2019, our second group in July, and we're now enrolling our third MA group for support beginning later this year.
We are now seeking commitments for our first group(s) of adults/families in Connecticut, for support beginning as soon as Summer 2020. If you are interested in learning more, 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.