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Chair of Congressional Black Caucus Joyce Beatty and California Congresswoman Karen Bass Headline National Autism Conference
By LAWT News Service
Published April 9, 2021


Special Needs Network Promotes Advocacy During Autism Awareness Month




Congressional Black Caucus Chair Hon. Joyce Beatty (D-OH) and California Congresswoman Hon. Karen Bass (D-CA) will keynote a national autism conference on Saturday, April 10, 2021 sponsored by California-based autism and social justice organization Special Needs Network (SNN). Themed “Rise Up,” the 15th annual Tools for Transformation Conference will bring together leading medical, educational and social justice experts.  Speakers include California State Senator Connie Leyva, and Los Angeles City Councilmembers Curren Price, Marqueece Harris-Dawson and Mark Ridley-Thomas.


“We use Autism Awareness Month to elevate the issues facing children and adults of color on the spectrum and to declare that their lives matter,” says Areva Martin, civil rights attorney and Special Needs Network founder and CEO.  “This conference is just one of many ways that we celebrate diversity and call on elected leaders and policy makers to prioritize resources vitally needed in underserved disability communities.”



Autism Facts:

1:54 – Autism impacts one in 54 children and is the fastest growing childhood disorder in the US according to the Center of Disease Control.

3 years – African American children suffer from an on average three-year delay in receiving an autism diagnosis and face tremendous barriers in accessing services.

4-5 X’s – Consistent with prior CDC reports, boys are 4 to 5 times more likely to be identified with autism spectrum disorder.

300% – Autism prevalence has grown alarmingly over the last decade, tripling its incidence rate.


The free virtual event will broadcast live April 10, 9:30 am to 2:30 pm, on SNN’s YouTube and Facebook channels.  Workshops will focus on helping parents and providers access services, address systemic racism in autism services, and mitigate the effects of remote learning for students with disabilities. The conference is part of SNN’s month of free events and activities including virtual concerts, a town hall event with officials from Los Angeles Unified School District and a grab-and-go backpack and food give-away on April 24 at Mervyn S.Dymally High School at 8800 South San Pedro in Los Angeles.


The Tools for Transformation Conference is sponsored by California Wellness Foundation and Anthem Blue Cross.


Register for the conference at Learn more about how to access autism therapies and SNN’s other services at or contact [email protected].



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