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Help for underserved with developmental disabilities


Special Needs Network 

The Special Needs Network ended the summer on a positive note with the recent success of their Summer Camp still fresh on the minds of South Los Angeles residents. This non-profit organization is continuing to kick off the fall with a new endeavor unlike any resource previously available.

On Sept. 28, The Special Needs Network hosted an open house event and officially opened the Center for Autism and Developmental Disabilities (C.A.D.D.). According to, CAAD will serve as a “full-time autism health and community center delivering comprehensive medical and developmental services”  located in the Watts-Willowbrook and Compton area. 

The newly designed clinic will be located on the second floor of the Jaqueline Avant Children and Family Center. Their address is 1741 E. 120th St. in Willowbrook, adjacent to Martin Luther King Jr. Community Hospital. This newly designed and developed resource community center is one of many steps to a brighter and more enlightened future for individuals and families navigating through Autism and or developmental disabilities. 

Special Needs Network Founder and CEO Areva Martin said, “This kind of facility in the heart of an African-American and Latino community doesn’t exist throughout the state. This is a place where you can bring a child with developmental disabilities, and they can access comprehensive medical care. This is not designed like a traditional clinic, hospital, or institution. This is built to look like home with a bed and a kitchen which we know enhances learning for these children.”

CAAD will offer integrated diagnosis, and intervention services, including speech, occupational, and behavioral therapy and Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) therapy services that focus on assisting uninsured, Medical, and uninsured low-to-moderate income families. CAAD has partnered with St. John Well Child and Family Center, who will offer medical and dental care. Alternate services include a family resource center, vocational and skills training, a free legal clinic, and many more. Additionally, CAAD will offer referrals to special needs services, primary and preventative medical care, and behavioral health assessments and services. 

“As a mother to a child growing up with special needs, I found myself in countless clinical spaces from Los Angeles to Santa Barbara, and we do not need another sterile clinic,” Martin said. “With this center, my hope was to design a space where families could experience a warm, natural environment that would inspire connection and nurture growth while making a meaningful and measurable impact. And the scientific research reinforces that these welcoming spaces designed to model home and hearth are more conducive to positive outcomes.”

For more information, call (323) 291-7100 or email