Sisters Maja Watkins and April Rasmussen grew up with a brother, Zack, who is on the autism spectrum. Inspired by their brother, both women decided to pursue careers in education: Maja studied early childhood development with a focus on special needs, and April pursued secondary language arts with a focus on literacy. Maja then joined The Second City-LA an improv school while working in a special needs classroom. She found that many of her improv techniques engaged students who were otherwise unreachable. April became a credentialed English teacher and saw first hand the consequences of high school students who were not able to communicating effectively.
Maja’s work with improv and experience having a brother with autism later coincided with Oscar Madrigal. As both a parent of two children with autism and also a special education teacher, Oscar saw how Zip Zap Zop addresses the need for enrichment beyond the clinical interventions that his children and students experienced. With Oscar as President of the Board of Directors, the Zip Zap Zop organization was founded with the idea that individuals with special needs should have every opportunity to be included in our society as best as they can and wish to be.