• April 20, 2024
 Law firm advocates for neurodivergent clients with specialist team

Alia lewis Fauzia Mumani and Sheena Vadher want to advocate for neurodivergent individuals

Law firm advocates for neurodivergent clients with specialist team

A UK law firm has launched specialist training for professionals representing those with neurodivergent conditions such as ADHD, Tourette Syndrome, Autism and the Dyslexic spectrum and child care law. 

Duncan Lewis Family Law aims to transform legal aid for those who suffer from neurological conditions that can affect behaviour and communication. The firm has constructed a specialist team of legal representatives for neurodiverse individuals headed by the firm’s Director Alia Lewis.

Lewis, alongside Sheena Vadher and Fauzia Mumani, leads the initiative, and say they are ‘bringing both personal and professional experience in neurodivergence to the forefront of their practice’.

The team’s broader work involves campaigning for compulsory training, the introduction of best practice guidance and systemic change to make family justice more accessible for the neurodivergent community.

Duncan Lewis Solicitors say they are ‘proud to announce the launch of a ground-breaking new team of Family and Child Care Law solicitors’ within the firm who specialise in representing neurodivergent individuals and their families.

They have expertise in assisting clients in cases involving neurodivergence and learning difficulties – along with clients who have special needs. Their support extends to assisting those with hearing difficulties.

The firm stated:

“The sole focus of the team is to advocate for the rights of neurodivergent clients and their families within Public and Private Children Law proceedings including cases that are legally aided”.

The team are members of the Law Society’s Children Law Accreditation Scheme and have all achieved a Level 2 qualification in Understanding Autism.

They each have personal and professional experience of neurodivergence. Director Lewis has brought her own experience; the journey of becoming a parent to an autistic child, and she has identified areas for improvement within the family justice system in relation to the way cases involving neurodivergence are conducted.

Lewis says:

“I have a passion for upholding the rights of neurodivergent people has been the driving force behind her work to increase widespread awareness and understanding, and was the inspiration for establishing this team. Both Sheena and Fauzia share Alia’s passion; their work has an immensely positive impact on the children and families they care so strongly about.”

The team are also working on securing fundamental changes within the family justice system. In furtherance of this aim, they are in the process of forming a cross-firm working group whose primary aims are:

  • To campaign for compulsory training on neurodivergence for all professionals in the family justice system;
  • To develop best practice guidance; and
  • To implement systemic and practical changes.

Alia Lewis said:

“We have worked hard to enhance our existing knowledge and understanding of neurodivergence so that we can provide an inclusive, trauma informed and bespoke service to our clients.

“This approach has had a profound impact, particularly for our neurodivergent clients and the outcomes in their cases. We are wholly committed to working towards improving the experience of all neurodivergent individuals navigating the family justice system in line with disability legislation, to improve access to justice, promote equality and protect human rights.”

The Director won the Legal Aid Lawyer of the Year Award for Children’s Rights in 2023 in  recognition of her ongoing work to transform the way in which cases involving neurodivergence are conducted within the family justice system.

She is also a member of the Law Society’s Children Law Accreditation Scheme, she is qualified to legally represent children. Her personal experience as a mother has given her ‘in-depth understanding of neurodivergence and associated conditions enables her to  expertly adapt her approach to representing children who are neurodivergent, non-verbal, and pre-verbal’. Whilst communicating with clients Lewis uses PECS, communication boards, visual timetables, social stories, and basic Makaton.

Drawing on personal experience as the parent of an autistic son, Lewis is skilled in using PECS- which is a picture exchange communication system, communication boards, visual timetables, social stories, and basic Makaton- using signs and symbols to communicate.

Eve Tawfick, Editor

1 Comment

  • As a Certified Special Needs Divorce Coach, I’m interested to find out more about the work Duncan Lewis and others are doing to support neurodivergent individuals in divorce, as well as divorces where children with disabilities are involved.

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