ACCESS Program

ACCESS Program

Acquiring Career, Coping, Executive-Function, and Social Skills

students in library with teacher
Massie Family Clinic

Clinics and Programs

ACCESS Program

The ACCESS Program is a comprehensive 20-session group program tailored to empower neurodiverse adults, specifically those with autism spectrum disorders. Our program focuses on enhancing life coping skills, planning abilities, and social skills, enabling participants to access various opportunities in social, work/educational, and community settings.

This engaging program accommodates 10-15 individuals and their chosen social partners, working together for 20 weekly sessions. Guided by a licensed clinical psychologist and co-led by MIND Institute faculty, staff, and dedicated community volunteers, the ACCESS Program is designed to be both supportive and educational. Currently offered in a hybrid format (online and in-person), it provides flexibility for participants.

A unique aspect of ACCESS is the inclusion of a social partner. Each participant selects a parent, close family member, peer, or support worker familiar with their daily life and long-term goals. This designated "social partner" plays a vital role throughout the program. This support group for social partners focuses on strategies to help neurodiverse adults apply their acquired skills in real-world settings and allow social partners to share experiences and insights.

  1. The program runs from late June to November for 20 weeks.
  2. Group sessions occur once a week on Tuesday evenings from 4:15 p.m. to 5:45 p.m.

Individuals are eligible to participate if they meet the following requirements:

  • Age Requirement: Participants should be between 18 and 45 years old.
  • Diagnosis: A formal diagnosis of Autism is not mandatory. Individuals with other diagnoses facing challenges in coping skills, career planning, executive functioning, and social skills are welcome.
  • Educational Achievement: Participants must have graduated from high school, obtained a GED, or received a certificate of completion.
  • Verbal Ability: Participants must be verbal and capable of engaging in full sentences with others.
  • Behavioral Expectations: Participants should not exhibit violent behaviors or aggressive tendencies.
  • Cognitive Ability: Participants should have an average or above-average IQ.

If you are interested in this program, and you meet the requirements, please get in touch with the program coordinator for more information on applying to the program. Limited need-based scholarships are available.Please contact Nicki Rodriguez, Social Skills Coordinator at 916-703-0441 or

  • Marjorie Solomon, Ph.D.
    Principal Investigator

    B.A. Latin American Studies, Harvard College, 1981
    M.B.A., Stanford Graduate School of Business, 1985
    Ph.D. Personality and Social Psychology, UC Berkeley, 1999

    Dr. Solomon is a licensed clinical psychologist and associate professor of clinical psychiatry in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, UC Davis School of Medicine. Her work is primarily focused on high functioning individuals with autism. She studies and implements school and clinical intervention programs to help children and adolescents with autism. Her current research efforts extend to using cognitive neuroscience methods, including functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI), to study cognitive control; learning, motivation, and rewards processing; functional connectivity; and neurodevelopment from early adolescence through young adulthood in individuals affected by autism.

  • Steve Ruder
    Resource Specialist

    Steve Ruder works in the MIND Institute's Resource Center. He assists families and people with disabilities who have questions regarding high school transition, adult services, and employment. Steve is the facilitator for the Northern California Business Advisory Council. He also assists families with questions regarding supported decision-making before considering conservatorship. Please contact Steve at to schedule an appointment.

  • Andrea Schneider, Ph.D.
    Associate Research Scientist

    Dr. Andrea Schneider obtained her Ph.D. in Psychology at the University of Potsdam, Germany, and worked as a researcher and lecturer in Clinical Psychology in Germany. In 2011, she completed a postdoctoral fellowship at the UC Davis MIND Institute and the Fragile X Research Treatment Center focusing on neurodevelopmental and genetic disorders. Since 2011, she has been a faculty member at the Department of Pediatrics and holds an Assistant Research Scientist position at the University of California at Davis, MIND Institute.

Contact Us
Nicki Rodriguez

For more information about the program, please contact:

Nicki Rodriguez
Program Coordinator


UC Davis MIND Institute

2825 50th Street
Sacramento, CA 95817