Mason Autism Support Initiative
MASI is a comprehensive, fee-based program that provides additional intensive support services to students on the Autism Spectrum beyond typical higher education accommodations. MASI uses a team-based approach to assist students in achieving their goals in college.
Through this program, students have access to:
Graduate students or professionals that support students with developing strategies for academic and social success, making connections to campus resources, and facilitating communication with faculty. Learning Strategists meet with students 1-2 times a week.
Undergraduate students that support social needs of students. Peer Mentors meet with their mentees 1-2 times a week connecting them to the Mason community.
Each semester, students take ½ credit individualized UNIV courses that focus on topics related to the transition into college, campus resources, social skills, identity development, and career readiness with an emphasis on independence.
Monthly social activities for students that consist of activities on and off campus, planned by the Social Event Planning Committee.
Application process and fees
The application window for the 2021-2022 academic year is now open and will close Thursday, April 1, 2021. The fee for the 2021-2022 academic year is $6,800. Once a student is accepted into MASI, they must pay a $400 deposit to secure their space in the program. The $400 deposit is applied to the overall fee.
Completed applications are reviewed by a committee (i.e.: MASI staff and program partners). Selected applicants will be invited for an interview as completed applications are received. The application is due by Thursday, April 1, 2021 by 11:59pm. Final MASI decisions will be sent out by Wednesday, April 14, 2021. A completed application includes:
• $25.00 application fee – Submit payments here. Select MASI Application Fee (New Applicants Only)
• Documentation (see documentation guidelines on application)
• High School/College Transcript (official or unofficial)
• GMU Acceptance Letter
MASI applications may be submitted at the same time as a student’s regular admission application to Mason. However, applications will NOT be reviewed for consideration until a Mason acceptance letter has been received.
Once a MASI acceptance letter is received, students will have until May 1, 2021 to commit to the program and pay the $400 deposit. If the deposit is not paid by May 1, 2021, a student could lose their spot for the upcoming academic year.
After May 1st, if we still have space in the program, we will begin accepting applications on a rolling basis.
Frequently asked questions
- In order to learn more about the MASI program, including the different components and the application process, we invite you to attend an informational session. All of the sessions listed below will be hosted virtually and contain all of the same information. Upcoming dates are:
Wednesday, December 9th from 10:00 AM – 11:00 AM
Friday, January 15th from 11:00 AM – 12:00 PM
Tuesday, February 9th from 3:00 PM – 4:00 PM
You can RSVP for a session here. As the date approaches, you will be sent a Zoom link for the informational session.
If you are unable to attend one of the upcoming sessions, please reach out to us with any questions. You can email us at email@example.com or call 703-993-2474.
In 2014, Disability Services noticed a growing number of students expressing interest in having additional support services beyond the standard accommodations offered in higher education. The staff began researching and consulting with colleges and universities that had ASD support programs in place. In the Fall of 2014, the Mason Autism Support Initiative (MASI) launched as a pilot program with 8 students. Each year since then the program has grown and currently serves 39 students.
Position description: Learning Strategist/Learning Coach, Disability Services
The Mason Autism Support Initiative (MASI), and Executive Functioning Program (EFP) are fee-based programs offered through Disability Services, providing additional supports and resources beyond disability-related accommodations. MASI provides individualized, comprehensive social and academic supports to degree-seeking Mason students with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). EFP provides academic supports for students diagnosed with disabilities related to executive functioning skills.
The Learning Strategist (MASI) and the Learning Coach (EFP) meet and correspond with students regularly and consistently on a weekly basis to provide support with many aspects of university life, depending on their individual needs. Possible areas of support include:
- Implementation of strategies and development of skills in self-advocacy, time management, organization, planning/prioritizing, studying, goal-setting, problem-solving, self-monitoring, and decision-making.
- Assistance with and modeling of effective communication with faculty, classmates, and peers.
- Collaboratively identifying and addressing social needs and navigating challenging situations.
- Assistance with accessing and utilizing campus resources.
- Assistance with coordination and collaboration with university faculty and staff, departments, and community organizations as needed.
- Preparation for transition into the world of work.
The Learning Strategist spends 1 to 2 hours a week per student working together during individual face to face (or virtual) meetings. Additional responsibilities may include check-ins via email, text, and/or phone with students, faculty, staff and/or parents. Position will require approximately 10-15 hours each week. This range can vary based on student case load. Learning Strategists are assigned up to 7 students.
The Learning Coach spends up to 4 hours a week per student working together during individual face to face (or virtual) meetings. Additional responsibilities may include check-ins via email, text, and/or phone with students, faculty, staff and/or parents. Position will require approximately 10-15 hours each week. This range can vary based on student case load. Learning Coaches are assigned up to 4-5 students.
The successful candidate will have an understanding of disabilities, particularly ASD, as well as:
- Current enrollment in a graduate program in Special Education, Counseling, Psychology, Social Work, Educational Psychology, or a related field or have relevant education and experience.
- Experience and comfort working with individuals with disabilities, preferably with young adults.
- Ability to organize and coordinate with on- and off-campus resources.
- Qualities of being reliable, responsible, self-motivated, confident, sincere, flexible, patient, dedicated, observant, and considerate.
- Strong written and verbal communication skills.
- Creative and broad-level thinking skills.
- A demonstrated ability to collaborate and communicate regularly with other team members in order to monitor students’ progress and meet their individualized needs.
- Openness to new ideas.
Preferred qualifications include: experience working with individuals with ASD or other related disabilities; familiarity with the field of higher education (ideally some experience working at a college or university); a demonstrated understanding of common needs of individuals with ASD or other related disabilities, particularly young adults; experience working with college students; and knowledge of issues regarding transition from high school to postsecondary education for students with disabilities.
$20/hour for meetings with students and participation in staffing meetings, supervisions, and administrative work.
To apply for this position, please submit a letter of interest, resume, and contact info of three professional references to the information listed below. Priority deadline for application is July 1, 2021.
Position Description: Peer Mentor, Disability Services
The Mason Autism Support Initiative (MASI) is currently accepting applications from undergraduate students interested in serving as Peer Mentors for the 2021-2022 academic year. MASI is a comprehensive program through Disability Services that provides individualized services beyond standard accommodations for students diagnosed with an Autism Spectrum Disorder. Peer Mentors are a resource to students and play an extremely important role as they navigate through social and academic aspects of life at Mason.
Peer Mentor Job Description
Peer Mentors meet weekly with 2 to 3 students to assist with achievement of academic and social goals, promoting a positive university experience. Weekly meetings are tailored towards the individual interests of the students, but could include weekly lunches or dinners, attendance at events on and off campus, and involvement with clubs and organizations. Through this role, peer mentors will gain skills in: communication, team-building, active listening, problem solving, and time management.
Peer Mentor Time Commitment
This position is for both fall and spring semesters and requires that full academic year commitment. Peer Mentors will meet weekly (1-2 hours) in individual meetings with their mentees. Peer Mentors are expected to attend monthly supervisions and staff meetings. There is also a requirement to attend at least two MASI social events per semester.
Peer Mentor Training:
Peer Mentors are required to attend a two-hour orientation and participate in UNIV 333: Peer Leadership for Peer Mentors for the first 7 weeks of the fall semester. This class is held on Friday’s from 2:30-4:30 PM.
Peer Mentors must maintain a cumulative and semester GPA of 2.7 and remain in good judicial standing at George Mason University
$10/hour for meetings with students and participation in staff meetings, supervision, and social events
Timeline and How to Apply:
Priority due date for applications is by Monday, May 10th at 11:59 PM. To apply for this position, please apply via your George Mason University Handshake account.
4400 University Drive, MSN 5C9
Student Union Building 1, Suite 2500
Fairfax, VA 22030
9:00 AM – 5.00 PM
Monday – Friday
Phone: 703 993 2474