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School of Medicine Recognizes Black History Month: Nellie Valentine

Posted: 2024-02-15

Source: UCI School of Medicine
News Type: 

Nellie Valentine, parent advocate for the Center for Autism & Neurodevelopmental Disorders, is a leader, community mentor, and outstanding advocate for children with developmental disabilities and their families. As a mother of four neurodiverse children, Valentine initially came to CAND as a volunteer for the Family Advisory Committee and later transitioned to a staff role with an emphasis on conducting outreach to the African, Black and Caribbean (ABC) community in Orange County.

She facilitates a multitude of parent workshops about topics such as early intervention and Applied Behavioral Analysis (ABA), in addition to convening monthly meetings for the Empowered Women of Color parents’ group.  “I knew that by fundamentally empowering women of color, we would reduce the stigma and mistrust existing in our community, and effect change,” stated Valentine. “I also knew there could be no gaining of empowerment without gaining knowledge, which is the most powerful antidote.”

As a testament to Valentine’s vision, one parent from this group stated, “Participating in this group was life-changing. My child’s needs and services are currently being met and I feel more knowledgeable about the entire process. I know for a fact I wouldn’t have been as informed if it wasn’t for the experience in this group.” Valentine has also worked with the CAND team to obtain multiple grants from the California Department of Developmental Services to increase services for the ABC community, including a health resource website launched in collaboration with PRIME LEAD-ABC scholars.

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