Known to audiences around the country from The Dr. Phil Show, Anderson Cooper 360, Dr. Drew On Call, Nancy Grace and other national media outlets, Areva is the go-to on-camera expert on legal, political, women’s and children’s issues. A multi-award-winning Harvard-trained attorney and author, she is founder of Special Needs Network, a non-profit dedicated to the needs of underserved families raising a child with developmental disabilities. Known for her advocacy on behalf of victims and the “underdog,” as well as her straight talk on tough legal and social issues, Areva has been featured in national publications from Redbook and Parenting to Ebony. Her unique background has endeared her to audiences worldwide: despite being raised in a poor community by a single mother, she attended the nation’s top universities.
A lifelong advocate of diversity, inclusion and equity, Areva is the winner of many national and state awards including the Los Angeles County Woman of the Year Award, L’Oreal Paris Women of Worth, KCET Local Hero Award, Farmers Insurance Living Legends Award and the California Legislative Black Caucus Civil Rights Leadership Award.
Under her leadership, Special Needs Network provides services to thousands of families and is the “go-to” organization on advocacy and special needs for under-resourced populations. As president, Areva has created a cadre of innovative programs that empower parents and address issues of disparities and access to education and medical care. She’s raised millions of dollars for autism and spearheads the building of California’s first autism medical home for kids on the Martin Luther King Hospital health campus.
Her second book, The Everyday Advocate: Standing Up for Your Child with Autism and Other Special Needs (Penguin 2010), combines her personal story as a mother of an autistic child with her legal expertise, and is critically acclaimed as a comprehensive and compelling look at the special needs community and the importance of advocacy in this country.
Areva graduated with honors from Harvard Law School and the University of Chicago, and is the founding and managing partner at Martin & Martin, LLP. She lives in Los Angeles with her husband and three children.