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For Immediate Release

Easterseals Southern California Partners with Rafi Nova to Offer Mask Designed With Sensory Sensitivities in Mind

Sensory-Friendly Face Coverings Available Feb. 8; Portion of Proceeds Benefits Easterseals

LOS ANGELES, February 8, 2021

Media Contact:
Vicki Greenleaf, Greenleaf + Associates

Image of woman wearing Rafi Nova Mask

Easterseals Southern California (ESSC), a leading provider of disabilities services, has teamed with socially conscious lifestyle brand Rafi Nova, pioneer of the clear Smile Face Mask, to develop a Sensory-Friendly Mask, available Feb. 8, to benefit children and adults with autism and other disabilities or anyone who finds wearing a conventional mask uncomfortable.

For individuals with autism and other sensory processing challenges or disabilities, mask wearing can be difficult. A face covering introduces multiple new stimuli, including the fabric's sensation, the pressure of tight elastic bands and the heat and moisture from breath inside the mask.

According to the CDC, about one-in-54 children has been identified with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). About one-in-six children aged 3–17 years (17%) were diagnosed with a developmental disability as reported by parents, during a study period of 2009-2017, including autism, attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder, blindness and cerebral palsy, among others. Per the Autism Society, ASD is the fastest growing developmental disorder U.S. with 3.5 million+ individuals on the spectrum in the U.S.; 500,000 autistic individuals are transitioning to adulthood.

The premier New England mask maker partnered with ESSC to design a mask with reduced stimuli to address the concerns of people with sensory sensitivities, consulting more than a dozen of Easterseals’ therapists and other licensed and certified staff and working with people who receive services from ESSC, as well as their families and other community members. Over a three-month period, multiple prototypes were tested and revised to achieve a maximally beneficial mask—soft, structured, safe, secure—that provides both comfort and function.

Commented Dr. Paula Pompa-Craven, Psy.D., ESSC’s Chief Clinical Officer, “There’s little in the marketplace to accommodate people with sensory sensitivities. This soft mask is an outstanding option not only for the autism community, but for all children and adults who I believe will find it uniquely comfortable.”

The Sensory-Friendly Mask retails for $14 (child sizes) and $16 (adults). Available in light blue, light pink, hunter green, black and “Over the Moon” (kids sizes only) at RafiNova.com

A portion of each purchase will be donated to Easterseals Southern California when you use code: ESSC

Features of the Mask Include:

  • Softness:  100% Mulberry silk lining reduces friction and adjustable jersey knit straps clasp behind the head instead of pinching the ears.
  • Structured:  Minimal design and limited seaming. 
  • Secure:  Adjustable nose bridge ensures the perfect fit and decreases glasses fogging. 
  • Safe:  Special construction lifts the mask off the mouth and highly breathable cotton is used on the exterior.
  • Durability: The mask has an antibacterial layer and is reusable and machine washable.
  • Ease:  A clasp on the back ensures ease of putting on and removal. When not on the face, the mask may safely remain on the person and not be lost thanks to an extra strap feature that fastens it behind the neck. 
  • Social Story:  Comes with a visual storytelling designed by therapists that helps children understand mask-wearing necessity. 

"Masks must be comfortable and functional for everyone. It's that simple," said Rafi Nova CEO Marissa Goldstein. Earlier this year, the company pioneered transparent masks with their Smile Mask launch to restore visual cues to masked communication. In partnership with ESSC, the Sensory-Friendly Mask represents the next generation of the company's inclusive face coverings designed to protect and reconnect communities.

About Rafi Nova:

Rafi Nova is a socially conscious lifestyle brand on a mission to outfit families with products and accessories designed for everyday adventures while empowering them to connect, have fun and do more good in the world. Founded as a fair-trade fashion brand to equip adventurous families with sustainably made travel bags, the company shifted focus to face masks to solve the urgent needs of families and communities. Veterans of sustainable product manufacturing, Co-founders Marissa and Adam Goldstein named the company after their two sets of twins and travel partners: Raya, Efi, Noa and Eyva.

About Easterseals:

For more than 100 years, Easterseals has been an indispensable resource for people with disabilities and their families. Each year more than 1.5 million people benefit from Easterseals services across a network of affiliates in communities nationwide. Easterseals makes profound and positive differences in people's lives every day, helping them address life’s challenges and achieve personal goals so that they can live, learn, work and play in our communities. 

Easterseals Southern California (ESSC), the largest affiliate of the national Easterseals organization, provides services in Los Angeles, Orange, San Diego, Imperial, Kern, San Bernardino, Riverside and Ventura counties. With nearly 3,000 employees, 60+ service sites and hundreds of community partnership locations, each year ESSC assists more than 13,000 people, providing adult/senior day services; autism therapy; child development/early education; employment services; veteran employment support; independent living options; and more.

For more information, visit: https://www.easterseals.com/southerncal

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Media Contact:

Easterseals Southern California:

Vicki Greenleaf

Greenleaf + Associates — 323.660.5800


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