Theresa Varnet has been an advocate for persons with disabilities
for over 40 years. In addition to being a certified teacher,
a licensed social worker and a graduate of the DePaul University
College of Law, she is the parent of a disabled adult daughter.
She has served as Social Services Director in a residential
school for profoundly retarded children, Coordinator for a
Special Education Cooperative and as a Citizen Advocacy/Disability
Rights Coordinator. While living in the Sultanate of Oman,
she assisted the Omani Ministry of Social Affairs in developing
the first preschool program for children with handicapping
Ms. Varnet is an active volunteer in the National, State
and local chapters of The Arc (formerly known as the Association
for Retarded Citizens), Alliance for the Mentally Ill, The
Austism Society. She serves on the Board of Directors for
Life Stream, Inc. in New Bedford, MA, and is a past member
of the Developmental Disabilities Council in MA and KY and
of the Governor's Advisory Panel on Special Education in KY.
She received her Masters degree in Social Work from the University
of Connecticut. Her experience includes extensive work in
the area of in-service training with families, special educators,
social workers and other professionals. She is a frequent
speaker for volunteer and professional groups and has presented
nationally at the National Conferences of TASH, AAIDD, The
Arc, NAELA and NADS, among others. She is also the co-author,
with Richard Spain, of Home Control Through Estate and
Financial Planning, funded by the Illinois and Missouri
Planning Councils on Developmental Disabilities. Ms. Varnet
has been quoted on numerous occasions in national journals
and publications, including Newsweek, The Chicago
Tribune, Kiplinger Retirement Report, The New
York Times, and the AARP Bulletin and
Exceptional Parent magazine.
She is a member of the American Bar Association, the National
Academy of Elder Law Attorneys (chairperson of Special Needs
Law Section of NAELA) and the Academy of Special Needs Planners.
Ms. Varnet is licensed in both Massachusettes and Illinois
and divides her time between the Chicago law firm of Spain,
Spain & Varnet P.C. and the Massachusetts office of Fletcher,
Tilton & Whipple, P.C.