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.

Program Schedule:

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

Who can participate in the ACCESS Program?

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.

How Do I Get Started?

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 hs-mindsocialskills@ucdavis.edu.