PANDAS/PANS Law Presentation with Wendy Nawara and Laura Cellini


Laura Cellini and Wendy Nawara will hold a conversation about the efforts to pass “Charlie’s Law” an Illinois law which is the first in the country to mandate insurance coverage for treatment of PANDAS and PANS. Laura will interview Wendy Nawara, the mother of three children previously diagnosed with PANDAS, who was instrumental in the creation and passage of this law. Wendy will share with other parents the challenges, strategies, lessons, and successes of working on getting this law passed in Illinois. Parents working on similar legislative efforts will benefit from hearing about the experiences learned in Illinois.


Laura Cellini

Laura Cellini has been an autism policy advocate lobbying Illinois government for nearly two decades. She worked for a State Senate majority leader, a highly respected lobbying firm, was a graduate assistant for the Illinois Campaign Finance Project, and has served on Illinois government and nonprofit organization advisory committees.  She has been closely involved in the creation and passage of numerous laws in Illinois for children with autism and related health issues, including the creation of the first statewide autism project. She chaired the Medicaid Home and Community Based Waiver subcommittee of the Illinois Autism Task Force, and was instrumental in the drafting and passage of the Illinois Autism Insurance Mandate.


Wendy Nawara

Wendy Nawara, MSW, is the President and Executive Director of PANDAS/PANS Advocacy and Support. In 2011, Wendy began working on meeting the emotional needs of parents who found themselves in the thick of pediatric autoimmune neuropsychiatric disorders by founding an Illinois based Facebook support group. Through that small group, it became clear that more advocacy needed to be accomplished for the families in the PANDAS/PANS community, so with the help of other parents of children with PANDAS, the non-profit, PANDAS/PANS Advocacy and Support (PAS) was born in 2014. The PAS purpose is to raise funds to alleviate a portion of the financial burden encountered by families when treating their children, while also increasing the knowledge amongst medical providers, educators, and legislators at the local, state, and national levels. Most recently, PAS has worked tirelessly to support legislation that will better serve the needs of PANDAS/PANS families in Illinois, as well as throughout the US.