Massachusetts Advocacy for pediatric autoimmune neuropsychiatric disorders

Imagine putting your kid to bed one night and seeing your kid wake up a completely different person the next day. You feel like your kid is an exorcist. Maybe it’s a dream, a nightmare. Nope — it is the very real group of disorders called PANDAS/PANS.

PANDAS/PANS are autoimmune conditions characterized by an “abrupt onset of obsessive-compulsive symptoms and/or severe eating restrictions and at least two concomitant cognitive, behavioral, or neurological symptoms.”

These other symptoms include uncontrollable tics, severe phobias, and aggressive behavior.

PANS stands for Pediatric Acute Onset Neuropsychiatric Syndrome. PANDAS is not the cute bear — it…

Photo of Autumn Hallow
Photo of Autumn Hallow
Autumn Hallow from People Magazine

Abusers are gaming the legal system and children are paying the price — their lives.

Why are so many children still murdered by parents and/or family with histories of domestic violence when the red flags are right in front of us? The case of 8-year old Autumn Hallow in Minnesota was anything but justice:

“The last call made to police regarding suspected abuse and neglect of young Autumn was within two weeks from Autumn’s death.”

Ms. Kruse, Autumn’s mother, had a protective order (type of restraining order) against Autumn’s stepmother, who is implicated in Autumn’s death. …

Welcome! My name is Paola Rossetti and I am new to many worlds — law, writing, and advocacy. I am fortunate to have a job where I can work from home as a Law Clerk for the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.

My passion for health law and disability advocacy sparked my interest in writing on Medium. When the COVID-19 pandemic started just a few months after I got my attorney license in Massachusetts, I found myself in an employment gap due to a variety of factors. …

A person’s two raised fisted hands in handcuffs
A person’s two raised fisted hands in handcuffs
Photo by Niu Niu on Unsplash

How? Guardianship.

In the mid 19th century, the Thirteenth Amendment of the United States Constitution abolished slavery. Child labor was legal until the late 1930s. The 1960s ended the accepted practice of women sharing their husband’s or father’s identity. And today — in the United States, guardians constructively own their “wards” — people declared legally incapacitated by reason of disability.

The Netflix Series Dirty Money focuses on the corrupt guardianship system in the episode “Guardians Inc.” The episode explores the system of exploiting elderly individuals with large estates, resulting in widespread elder abuse, often facilitated by the courts. The show is a…

Photo by Christian Erfurt on Unsplash

If you’re reading this, you’ve been there before — you have so much to do and are so overwhelmed that you freeze. Ironically, you get nothing done, and more “to-dos” pile up. And the cycle repeats.

The good news is that after experiencing this cycle myself, I have found ways to manage by what I’ll call the mini-category technique.

1. Identify and List the Tasks you are Avoiding

Separate the tasks by time-sensitivity, such as whether the task is due in 48 hours or less versus an unspecified or “soft” deadline.

Take the tasks due soon and break them up…

Person on the left side of a metaphorical wall with labels of disabilities and person on the right side with medical symptoms
Person on the left side of a metaphorical wall with labels of disabilities and person on the right side with medical symptoms
Diagnostic Overshadowing Graphic in ENH NHS Trust

Imagine that you are a young adult with a developmental or intellectual disability — you are minimally verbal (but have been labeled non-verbal) yet you understand a lot more than people think you do. You have been given an antipsychotic medication for a few months and have just started getting an increased dosage — part of your “plan.” Nobody explains the medication to you nor do they explain what adverse effects you may experience, especially with the increased dose. You quickly experience the most frightening experience of your life — your tongue gets stuck in your mouth, you have trouble…

Paola Rossetti

Health and disability law attorney and advocate. Likes to read about mystery medical diagnoses. Excited to restart personal writing after a law school hiatus!

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