The Mea’Alofa Autism Support Center, MASC, was opened in 2006 so that children with autism could receive Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) – a science based on principles of learning that uses techniques related to the theory that learning occurs as a result of the consequences of behavior. Families have access to support services such as a support group, lending library, and referral services at no cost. MASC also provides opportunities to both parents and professionals in the Tidewater Area to learn about autism and it’s empirically validated therapies by conducting scheduled classes and on-site training.
The idea to create MASC originated when a local family realized the effect that ABA had on their daughter’s life. ABA was used to teach their daughter new skills, academic and social, while reducing her inappropriate behaviors. The gains made by their daughter with her speech and language, convinced them that this therapy, which is not provided by the school system, should be available to children with this life-long disability. With this in mind, the family partnered with Christine Passaretti, M.Ed., BCBA to establish a place where children can work to reach their fullest potential and their families can come for practical and professional support.