Support groups and social groups and events offer post high school adults with Asperger/autism profiles the opportunity to connect and relate to peers. Social activity series and event facilitators plan and guide adult participants in activities and events. Facilitators are AANE staff or volunteers who themselves are on the autism spectrum, have family members on the spectrum, or have worked extensively with the Asperger/autism community.
Support groups are facilitated peer support, not intended to be therapy. Social events and activities are designed for self sufficient adults on the spectrum or family members of those on the spectrum.
Learn more about the guidelines and code of conduct for adult groups and events on the Adult Support Group and Event FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions) page.
Co-Director of Adult Services
Michele is the mother of a young adult with ASD who is taking college classes and working part-time. In college, Michele majored in Psycholinguistics, which helped her recognize her son's social interaction issues early on, and started her down a path of advocating for parents. In 1998 she co-founded the Massachusetts Special Education Parents Advisory Council (MASSPAC). Michele also spent 35 years in the high-tech industry, and she now applies her well-honed consulting and changes management skills to parent coaching sessions and parent support groups at AANE.
Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org, 617-393-3824 X73.
AANE LifeMap Coach and Support Group Facilitator
Consultation & Coaching Specialist Adult Services
Kelly Urban, is a therapist and LifeMAP coach, who also works in AANE's Adult Services Department. Kelly previously worked at McLean Hospital, using DBT to teach young women emotion regulation tools and other life skills to move forward in their lives. Since 2014, Kelly has been providing information and referral services to adults, their families, and professionals, to help navigate what an Asperger profile means for them or those they care about.
Nick Gallop is our Adult Services Coordinator, and a Published Author on Autism who specializes in helping young adults on the Spectrum. He's worked with everything from Universities, to Parents, to the Clients themselves in helping them understand themselves and their Aspergers Profile. He is also an artist and musician, and is knowledgeable both on how artistic expression can help those on the spectrum, and how to market oneself as an artist.
Jamie Freed (she/her/hers) is a Licensed Independent Clinical Social Worker with offices in Quincy and Newton Highlands, MA. She specializes in working with neurodivergent and gender expansive individuals and their families, including those on the autism spectrum.
Jamie draws from years of experience as the Director of Adult Services at The Asperger/Autism Network (AANE), where she worked with adults on the autism spectrum, as well as their families individually and as a group facilitator. She also has expertise in working with individuals who are exploring their gender identity and expression, including non-binary identities.
Jamie emphasizes the importance of psychoeducation and takes a practical approach to helping clients improve the quality of their lives whether focusing on communication, relationships, employment or having independent and meaningful lives. She brings a nonjudgmental, compassionate approach to the therapeutic relationship. Jamie’s style is primarily cognitive in nature, emphasizing strengths and incorporating coaching skills as necessary to empower her clients and enable self-advocacy.
Melissa MacNish (she/her/hers) is a licensed mental health counselor with extensive experience working in the LGBTQ+ community. She is currently in private practice at The Meeting Point in Jamaica Plain, MA.
Melissa is deeply committed to creating safe spaces for trans, non-binary and queer youth to develop healthy identities. She has been involved with the GBPFLAG parents of transgender/gender non-conforming children support group since its inception in 2009. She is also on the founding Board of Directors and Assistant Director for Harbor Camp’s Camp Aranu’tiq, summer camp programming for transgender and gender variant youth and their families. Melissa recently launched her business, SAYFTEE, LLC to offer more services to meet the needs of the the LGBTQ+ communities in the Boston area.
For the past twelve years, Melissa has had the privilege of supporting many families through the process of understanding a family member’s gender identity and expression and has helped both families and individuals navigate the complex issues that often arise as a result of a gender transition or non-binary gender presentation.
Miriam Zisook is a social worker and designer on the team at Powderhouse Studios. Miriam has worked as a designer on assistive technology and wearable technologies, and worked to support and increase the power and participation of disabled people in technology fields. Miriam's work at Powderhouse is focused on how learning to make things and learning to solve problems like a designer can help people become more confident, competent, and empowered.