Special Needs Network
About Special Needs Network, Inc.
Autism is the fastest-growing childhood disease in America. A recent study published in the American Academy of Pediatrics' Journal confirms that one in every 91 American children, including one in every 58 boys, born today will be diagnosed with autism. In California alone, two children are diagnosed every hour. This complex neurological disorder is taking its toll on school districts, communities and families across the nation. And nowhere is the impact felt more than in communities of color, where both diagnosis and services are delayed two years on average. Two years lost for a child who needs early intervention for his developing brain. Two years without valuable therapies that can make the difference between her ability to someday live on her own - or lead a life of institutionalized care. This is the reality for thousands of special needs families who live in disenfranchised communities.
Special Needs Network, Inc., (SNN) a non-profit grassroots organization, is responding to the crisis of autism and other developmental disabilities in South Los Angeles by providing educational forums, resources, specialized learning opportunities for special needs children, intervention programs and advocacy training. Founded in 2005, SNN grew out of the struggles of co-founder and President Areva Martin's son's Marty diagnosis and her personal struggles to access services convinced her that an organization like SNN was long overdue in South Los Angeles. Using her entrepreneurial and legal skills, as well as calling upon her own experiences navigating the complex system of care needed for her own child, Areva and a diverse board of directors have created a parent-centered organization that serves annually thousands of families in South Los Angeles. Areva, a nationally recognized autism expert, advocate and author, continues to use her platform on television to raise awareness about autism and to raise millions of dollars for children with autism.
SNN signature programs include its annual "Tools for Transformation" conference and resource fair, the "Joe Patton Advanced Learning Academy," "Annual Back to School Inclusion Event," "Parent Advocacy and Mentoring Program," and "P-TAP." These programs provide needed advocacy and skills training to parents, grassroots leaders and children with special needs.
SNN is recognized by state and local elected officials as the premiere organization working on issues of autism in under-served communities of South Los Angeles. Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas, Congresswomen Karen Bass, Maxine Waters, Diane Watson (Ret.) and Laura Richardson, Senator Curren Price, Assembly members Holly Mitchell, Mike Davis and Steve Bradford , Los Angeles City Councilmember Herb Wesson, Jr., and Senate Pro Tem Darryl Steinberg are among many legislators who have singled out SNN with praise for its innovation, leadership and effectiveness.
SNN continues to reach out and collaborate with key local organizations such as Crystal Stairs, Autism Speaks, Autism Society of America, Junior Blind of America, California's Regional Centers and others. SNN firmly believes that dignity, hope and opportunity are the birthright of all children.