The Melody Arons Center, MAC, was founded in 2001 as a living memorial for Melody Arons, daughter of Ray and Marilyn Arons. Melody triumphed over her multiple disabilities, loved life and lived it fully until her untimely death at age 29. She loved animals and bugs, had endless energy and charm, and was never unemployed after age 18. Her home was the site for the Parent Information Center of New Jersey, Inc.,(P.I.C.) providing her with a large extended family throughout her childhood.
MAC grew out of the advocacy history of PIC, replacing the use of law with applications of neuroscience. It chose to utilize this cutting edge tool as a better approach for understanding the needs of children and the program elements required so as to lessen the impact of their disability on their lives. It focused on the preschool population because that was the time when children’s brains are the most plastic and the opportunity for improvement the most powerful. The Arons family are all musicians, as well as academics, and have particular interest in the use of music as an intervention and rehabilitative tool. Music, movement and art is at the center of the method MAC developed over time. Each MAC student has a specific intervention plan based on neuroscientific principles, with special attention to the use of melody and rhythm in language development and self-regulation. Because there is very little research into methodologies and success rates for preschool disabled children, MAC chose to select specific elements for both long term and short term outcome studies in language and in self-regulation. This has resulted in original research studies which are found on this website.
The Parent Information Center of New Jersey, Inc. was founded by Marilyn Arons in 1977 and was the first parent information center in America. It created the nonlawyer movement in special education, implemented the first parent training and advocacy programs, and created the largest body of case law in special education history. This included the granting of privilege to nonlawyers and the right of advocates to be paid as consultants when they prevailed in due process cases. Right to payment was overturned in 2005 by the U.S. Supreme Court. As a result, PIC could not derive income from its work and was subsequently dissolved. However, many of those who led and were trained by PIC remained and continue to provide their expertise on an as needs basis. MAC, however, does not provide representational services, focusing only on specialized instruction and research.