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USF M.S. Autism Research in Ghana

Dearest Friends and Family,

Thank you so much for taking the time to visit our page! For those who don't know, we are two USF students in the Master's Program for Applied Behavior Analysis. 

We will be visiting the Autism Awareness Care & Training Centre (AACT) in Accra, Ghana this summer. We will be providing support and conducting a research project about culturally tailored and sustainable behavioral intervnetions with the caregivers and students at the school.  We will create interventions that fit within the culture and environment and train the caregivers to implement them so that students can continue to benefit after we leave. Ashley has built relationships with many students and families over several trips to volunteer at AACT. The dedicated AACT team works dilligently dismantling misconceptions and advocating for these families. Our primary focus for this trip will be caregiver training, which we will document for research. We hope to expand the literature, encourage cultural consideration, and share behavior analysis around the world.

Unfortunately, in Ghana, having a child with Autism is viewed as a curse on the family. Because of this, many people are not seeking the necessary help- instead they are hiding these children at home, locking them up, and denying them basic human rights. AACT aims to teach children and adolescents with Autism basic life skills and communication while providing them with typical activities and interactions they may otherwise be denied. Other volunteers have provided support and training at the school that is not culturally fit. Therefore, caregivers have not been able to maintain the skills learned and benefits end as soon as the volunteers leave. 

We are fully funding this trip on our own and will be working the duration of our stay as unpaid volunteers. We have set up this page to raise funds for research materials, scholarships, and supplies for students who are unable to afford tuition at AACT. 

Over the next few months, we will work to gather materials in preparation for the trip. Services and resources for children and families affected by Autism are scarce in Ghana. Together we can provide scholarships and fund therapy materials for these incredible kiddos! All funds raised on this page will go directly towards research costs, materials for the school, and scholarships for children in need. We are also accepting any supplies. We are able to bring an extra suitcase each full of toys, academic supplies, and other therapy materials for the students, so any donation is greatly appreciated!

Please watch the video for more information and contact Ashley or Rachel with any questions (or if you want to join us!!). PLEASE SHARE!


  • New Smyrna Beach Florist
    • $300 
    • 6 yrs


Rachel Sofarelli
Lake Mary, FL

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