National Autism Association
Claire Bothwell works full-time as a paralegal and office manager of the California office of the law firm of Waters and Kraus. Claire has worked in the legal field since coming to the United States at age 19 in 1982. She is originally from Coventry, England, but now resides in Long Beach, California. She is married to Bruce, an attorney, and has three children: Will (aged 12 and autistic), Katrina (age 10 diagnosed with autism, but now recovered) and Jillian (age 8 and seemingly typical, whatever that is). When Will was diagnosed with autism in 1995, Claire quit her job and dedicated her time to running Will’s 40- plus hours a week Løvaas program and advocating on Will’s behalf. She and Bruce sued their local school district and regional center for funding for Will’s program and prevailed. Soon, she and Bruce were successfully advocating for services for other autistic children in the area. In 1997, Claire’s second child, Katrina, was diagnosed with autism and Claire co-founded the first support group in the area specifically targeted at parents of newly diagnosed children. She serves on the board of the Autism Society of America, Greater Long Beach South Bay Chapter and has previously edited their newsletter and served as the corresponding secretary. She was one of the founding parents of Los Angeles Families for Effective Autism Treatment (LA-FEAT) and was a frequent contributor to the old FEATLIST. In 2000, she returned to work full-time and opened the California office of Waters and Kraus. One of her first assignments was to research the issue of thimerosal in vaccines and its link to mercury poisoning and autism. Waters and Kraus filed the first civil suit in the United States alleging that thimerosal had caused neurological damage to children later diagnosed with autism.