Aspire: News and Upcoming Events

Click here to see our Fall 2017 Schedule.

Please note: All applications for our fall groups and programs will be processed beginning in mid-July and continuing through August.

Intake appointments for fall groups and programs will be scheduled on a rolling basis beginning in mid-July. Decisions regarding placement for fall groups will be finalized in late August and early September to ensure best fit.

Keep up with Aspire news past and present with our MGH Aspire Wire Archives.

Donate to Aspire here.



Child Programs 


Teen Programs




Adult Programs


Internship Program 


Aspire adults autism

Consultation Services


Professional Development



Contact us

MGH Aspire
1 Maguire Rd 
Lexington, Massachusetts 02421
Ph. 781.860.1900
Fax: 781.860.1920
Email: mghaspire@partners.org

Serving individuals with high cognitive autism spectrum disorder or a related profile in the Boston metropolitan area for over 25 years. We are an MGH autism program.

Our Team

D. Scott McLeod, PhD
Executive Director, Aspire
Clinical Instructor in Psychology, Harvard Medical School

Donald Scott McLeod, PhD

Dr. Scott McLeod has been on staff at Massachusetts General Hospital since 1990. He became Aspire’s Executive Director in January 2003 after acting as Associate Director for 10 years. Dr. McLeod received his doctorate in clinical psychology from Boston University. He is a Clinical Instructor in Psychology at Harvard Medical School. Because of the significant expansion of Aspire, Dr. McLeod recently transitioned to a full-time role at Aspire and relinquished his part-time position as Chief Psychologist at the MGH Charlestown HealthCare Center.

His clinical interests include the development of effective interventions for persons with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD). Dr. McLeod consults in a large number of public and private schools about supporting social and academic success with students with ASD. Dr. McLeod strongly believes that real change for persons on the spectrum occurs in the life space. The most effective interventions to support academic, social and vocational success need to be at schools, camps, and job sites. He is a former long time member of the Board of Directors of the Asperger's Association of New England (AANE).  He is also the co-author of a new book on ASD: Take Charge of Treatment for Your Child with Asperger's (ASD): Create a Personalized Guide to Success for Home, School, and the Community.  See http://tinyurl.com/takechargeASD.

Lesley Flaherty, MSW, LCSW
Internship Career Counselor

Lesley Flaherty is a Licensed Certified Social Worker with a master’s degree in social work with a certificate in family therapy from Boston University School of Social Work. Lesley has experience working with children, teens, and adults with social-emotional based issues and complex medical conditions in a variety of settings, including schools and hospitals. In addition to her primary role as a job coach, Lesley currently coordinates the Saturday Explorations group in Lexington and serves as a group leader for several other groups at Aspire. Lesley first began working for Aspire in 2014 as a job coach in the Transitions Program and has since filled many other roles in teen and adult programming. Throughout her time at Aspire, Lesley has developed a passion for working with teens and adults on the autism spectrum, and believes with the right tools and supports in place, we can empower those with ASD to gain a greater sense of self-confidence to be able to reach their personal and professional goals.

Lesley received her undergraduate degree in Psychology and Deaf and Hard of Hearing Studies from the University of New Hampshire in Durham, NH. Lesley worked in the Psychiatry Academy at Massachusetts General Hospital assisting with the accreditation, logistics, and execution of live and online continuing medical education programs for providers. She also coordinated educational programs for patients and families as part of the departmental mission to serve the community.


Andrew Harris, MEd
Assistant Program Manager, Teen and Adult Services

Andrew Harris, Group Specialistis an educator with over 5 years of experience designing curriculum for and working with children and teens with autism spectrum diagnoses. He has worked at Aspire since 2014, serving first as a Group Leader, and then as the Being Social and Mind Body Specialist for both the Explorations and Transitions Programs.  Andrew is also the creator of the Guild Chronicles Program – an innovative small group social-emotional intervention that provides authentic opportunities for participants to develop skills and understanding. This year, he will be running Guild Chronicles groups here at Aspire, as well as developing curriculum for and running teen and young adult groups.

Andrew received his undergraduate degree in Art Education, from Massachusetts College of Art and Design, and his Master’s of Education degree from Lesley University – with a certificate in Autism studies.  He is a passionate educator, dedicated to fostering critical skills in the social-emotional realm, with creative methods that build self-confidence, esteem, and a sense of belonging in the process.


Dorothy Lucci, MEd, CAGS

Director of Consultation Services

Dot Lucci is a national consultant and speaker who brings over 30 years of specialization in individuals on the Autism Spectrum to MGH Aspire.


She has an advanced degree from the University of Massachusetts and is certified as a school psychologist. She additionally has extensive background in neuropsychology while at the Boston University Medical School. She holds teaching certificates in early childhood, elementary and special education. Ms. Lucci has numerous publications in the field and is a past member of the Board of Directors of the Asperger’s Association of New England (AANE). She has also been an adjunct faculty member in the Graduate School at Lesley University and Antioch College.

Bretton Mulder, PsyD
Director, Teen and Adult Services


Dr. Bretton Mulder, Program Manager of Teen and Young Adult Services at Aspire and Clinical Instructor at Harvard Medical School, is a clinical psychologist with experience coordinating programs and working with teens and young adults on the autism spectrum. Also, Dr. Mulder holds appointments as Assistant Psychologist in Department of Psychiatry and as Assistant in Pediatrics in the Department of Pediatrics at Massachusetts General Hospital. Dr. Mulder‘s research interests relate to the development of outcome measures for clinical interventions of the Aspire programs. Also, he is interested in research that deepens understanding and enhances treatment of autism spectrum disorders.

Dr. Mulder received his undergraduate degree in psychology and philosophy from Hope College, his Master of Arts degree in philosophy from Tufts University and his doctorate in clinical psychology from the Massachusetts School of Professional Psychology. He completed a two year advanced fellowship in psychotherapy and psychological assessment at the Danielsen Institute of Boston University. Also, his training positions included: Harvard Medical School/Massachusetts General Hospital, Massachusetts General Hospital/YouthCare, Boston University, Tufts Medical Center and McLean Hospital.

Leslie O'Brien, LICSW
Internship Program Manager


Leslie O'Brien is a Licensed Independent Clinical Social Worker with over 10 years of experience working with children, teens, adults, and families in educational, residential, and outpatient settings. As the Internship Program Manager at Aspire, Leslie aims to empower and help interns increase their knowledge, self-confidence, and work experience for use in the their employment as well as their everyday lives.  While always having a clinical interest in Autism Spectrum Disorders, Ms. O’Brien began working more closely with individuals with ASD through her work with Aspire in the Explorations program. When the right tools, motivation and practice are provided, she believes individuals with ASD can reach their potentials and goals. .

Leslie earned both her Bachelors of Science in Human Development and Masters of Social Work from Binghamton University in Binghamton, NY

Elise Wulff, MEd
Program Manager for Child Services

Elise Wulff has over 10 years of experience working with individuals on the autism spectrum, their families, and professionals in both public and private settings. Elise has worked with Aspire since 2008 in a variety of programs and roles. In collaboration with Aspire, Elise co-wrote and taught a multi-year tiered self-awareness curriculum based on Aspire’s model ‘The Science of Me.’ The curriculum teaches students to develop a healthy understanding of their unique profiles as learners and to become engaged with their communities. Prior to joining Aspire, Elise worked as the Inclusion Facilitator for a special education program for students with Asperger’s, NVLD, ADHD, and similar profiles. Elise loves getting to know new families, professionals, and individuals and cherishes the long-term relationships Aspire fosters that keep us all growing.

Elise received her undergraduate degree in psychology and theater arts from Emory University and her master’s degree in special education from Lesley University.


Application & Tuition

What can I expect during the Aspire application process?

At Aspire we review our applications carefully and meet with our applicants and families, as appropriate, in order to assess the best fit for our participants in each of our groups. We want our participants to succeed. This includes being placed with well matched peers which is helpful for creating an environment conducive to learning and developing socially. We look forward to receiving your application.

Do you have questions about Aspire and the application process?

Watch our short video below to learn about the application and intake process:


 Video: Aspire Intake Process

Admissions Process

After the completed application materials are received, candidates will be scheduled for an intake interview. If the candidate is not a good fit, we will contact the family as soon as possible. At the interview parents will meet with staff to discuss in more detail the goals for their children. The children gather together with other applicants and engage in fun activities led by Aspire staff. Aspire takes great pride in its careful placement of participants into groups with peers that are well-matched for each other. Criteria include: age, interests, communication style, and level of self-awareness. Aspire intake sessions only take place in our Lexington office.

Application Steps

Step 1 ›

Download appropriate application forms (see below)

Step 2 ›

Complete and sign the form(s).

Step 3 ›

Attach the most recent neuropsychological report, IEP, or other evaluations if Aspire does not already have them on-file.

Step 4 ›

Include a $75.00 application fee. (New applicants)

Application Forms

School-year 2017-18 Application Forms

  • Fall 2017: September 16 - December 16, 2017
    • Application deadline: September 8, 2017

NOTE: Applications for our Fall Groups and programs will be processed beginning in mid-July. Questions pertaining to scheduling, curriculum, group fit, etc. will be answered from that date. Intake appointments for fall groups and programs will be scheduled on a rolling basis beginning in mid-July. Decisions regarding placement for fall groups will be finalized late August/early September to ensure best fit.

If this is your first time applying to an Aspire program, please fill out one of the following:
Standard application for NEW applicants under age 18 (doc)

Standard application for NEW applicants age 18 plus (doc)

If you have participated in an Aspire program, please fill out the following:
Application for RETURNING participants (doc)

Internship Program Application Forms

Financial aid application: To apply for financial aid please download the financial aid application and submit as instructed.

Summer 2017 Application Forms

If this is your first time applying to an Aspire program, please fill out one of the following:
Standard application for NEW applicants under age 18 (doc)

Standard application for NEW applicants age 18 plus (doc)

If you have participated in an Aspire program, please fill out the following:
Application for RETURNING participants (doc)



Tuition Rate Sheet: Academic School-Year Programs

Tuition Rate Sheet:Summer 2017

Financial Aid

Financial aid applications may be submitted at the same time as the Aspire program application. Financial aid is available to families that qualify, is processed in the order in which it was received and is awarded based on our availability of resources.

If the Financial Aid applicant is over 18 and lives with a parent/legal guardian, we require that both the participant and the parents/legal guardians provide application materials. If you do not provide this information, the financial aid application will be considered incomplete.

Not sure if you will qualify? Contact us with questions.mghaspire@partners.org  

Payment Policies

Full payment is due prior to program start date.

Aspire does not offer refunds. Application fees, program deposits, and program tuition are non-refundable.


Please be aware that Aspire offers multidisciplinary interventions and methods that do not fit standard medical procedure codes; therefore, our services are not reimbursable by medical insurers.

Participation Policies

Attendance: The success of the group and of each participant is dependent upon all members attending as many sessions as possible. We expect that participants will make a commitment to the group. In case of an unavoidable absence, please let your group leader know with as much notice as possible. No refunds are given due to absences unless related to extensive medical conditions.

Inclement Weather: In the event of inclement weather, participants/families will be notified via email by noon whether the group/session will be held on that day. Participants/families may also call the Aspire office at 781-860-1900 after 12pm.

Refunds: Aspire does not offer refunds. Application fees and program deposits are non-refundable.


Publications & Media


Aspire Wire

Aspire Wire is our monthly newsletter filled with all the latest news. Click here to see past issues

Sign-up to stay informed regarding our programs, schedules, events, and more!


Aspire Spring 2017 Gala: "Dear Aspire"

"You taught me to be myself" and "You've given me a voice" are just a few of the words from former MGH Aspire participants that were shared at our Gala held on March 30th.

Read more in these news articles published about the 2017 event:


Read about last year's event:

16th Annual Aspire Spring Gala: Building One Relationship at a Time. We appreciate your attendance and your tremendous generosity!

This year’s gala celebrated individuals on the autism spectrum with the tools to form lasting and meaningful relationships.

Click on the links below to watch the Aspire videos which were shown at the 2016 Gala.

Aspire Internship Program

Watch Internship program manager, Leslie O'Brien on "4 Your Community" on WBZ talking about the Aspire Internship Program with intern Jake Peters.


New special events info for Fall 2017 coming soon!

Past Events

Child February Vacation Event

Parent Group:

Social Competency: Teaching Ways of Thinking and Being Social

In this day and age of high academic pressures, why are social skills still so important? This group will provide an overview of social pragmatics instruction at Aspire and will explore the framework that Aspire utilizes to help kids and teens form more meaningful social connections. The presentation is geared toward parents of children and teens with high cognitive ASD and related profiles.



Current Summer Job Openings

Click on the link below to see the full job description.

Please watch these videos for more information about being a Summer employee at Aspire!


Please watch this video series for more information about being a Summer employee at Aspire!

Elise Wulff, MEd, Program Manager for Child Services


Child Services, Hale Reservation, Westwood, MA

Administrative Assistant

Camp Assistant Group Leader

Camp Assistant Site Director

Camp Group Leader

Curriculum Specialist

Clinical Floater

Junior Assistant Group Leader

Junior Group Leader

Sensory Specialist

Summer Administrative Manager

Site Manager

Social Group Specialist


Teen Services, Charlestown, Lexington, Newton

Explorations Group Leader

Explorations Assistant Group Leader

Explorations Assistant Program Manager

Summer Administrative Manager

Transitions Assistant Program Manager

Transitions Job Coach

Transitions Program Manager

Trailblazers Group Leader

Trailblazers Assistant Group Leader


Internship Program

Seasonal Career Counselor


Current Permanent Job Openings


Child Services

Assistant Program Manager for Child Services

Teen and Adult Services

Assistant Program Manager for Teen and Adult Services

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