Families get together for a painting party April 9 at Cartier’s Comfort Centers for Autism in Eastpointe.

Families get together for a painting party April 9 at Cartier’s Comfort Centers for Autism in Eastpointe.

Photo by Patricia O’Blenes

Cartier’s Comfort Centers for Autism benefits children, families

Walking fundraiser set for April 27

By: Maria Allard | Roseville-Eastpointe Eastsider | Published April 13, 2024

 Cartier Carter, 7, enjoys a ride on the swing with his dad, Jeffrey Carter.

Cartier Carter, 7, enjoys a ride on the swing with his dad, Jeffrey Carter.

Photo by Patricia O’Blenes


EASTPOINTE — When Angela and Jeffrey Carter’s son, Cartier, was 3 years old, he was diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder.

Cartier, now 7, is nonverbal and is currently in a program where he is taking speech class and occupational therapy.

“He has a tablet and points to what he wants,” Angela said. “He knows how to negotiate it pretty well.”

Because there weren’t any facilities near them for Cartier to play, the Carters — who have three other adult children — opened up Cartier’s Comfort Center for Autism, located at  23358 Gratiot Ave. in Eastpointe.

The nonprofit organization provides support, resources and sensory-friendly activities for children with autism and their families.

“I wanted to open up something for the community. I just want to share it with everybody. We try to bring the kids together, because they always want to be alone,” Angela said. “As parents, we get to talk about what we’re going through. We offer a lot of resources to people so they can get the help they need.”

Inside Cartier’s Comfort Center for Autism is an area to read books, a mini trampoline, crafts, puzzles and all kinds of games. One favorite pastime for the kids is blowing bubbles. The Carters often play music for dancing, and the young guests can also take out the portable synthesizers to make their own music. Cartier is always active when he’s at the center.

“He likes to climb and he likes music,” Angela said. “He likes shiny lights.”

The Carters hold occasional paint parties and movie nights at Cartier’s Comfort Center for Autism. One TV program that always draws in the children is “Sesame Street.”

While some activities have been established at the center, the Carters have plans to expand. Construction is underway for a new gymnasium that will include a slide and rock climbing wall. The Carters are talking about opening up respite care to offer families a break for a few hours.

“I want to start a soccer team,” Angela said. “My son, he’s a runner.”

Afrkah Cooper, 28, of Detroit, is grateful to have Cartier’s Comfort Center so close to home. Her brother, Aren Cooper, 16, was diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder at age 2 1/2. She brings her younger brother to the center on a regular basis.

“We go every two weeks or so. He loves it,” Cooper said. “We do different crafts, paint and color. He loves to eat. They always have snacks for him.”

Cooper’s mom, Artrece Cooper, spent a lot of time volunteering at Cartier’s Comfort Center. She helped organize a Christmas caroling event last December and was on hand for the Trunk or Treat Halloween event in October. Making balloon art was another pastime.

“It was a labor of love,” Cooper said. “She had so many ideas.”

Artrece Cooper died in January of this year. She is remembered by her family and also by the students in Detroit Public Schools Community District, where she was a head cook.

The Carter Family will hold its second annual Family Fun Day 5-kilometer Walk-n-Talk from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. April 27 at Eastpointe High School, located at 15501 Couzens Ave. in Eastpointe.

The event will include activities, resources and carnival games. Participants can dress in their favorite superhero costumes. To register, visit the Cartier’s Comfort Center website at www.cartierscomfortcenter.org or call (866) 393-5519.

Cartier’s Comfort Center for Autism is always looking for volunteers and monetary donations. For more information, call (866) 393-5519.