Ellen Louise Wristen, JD, of Columbus, OH, is honored by the International Association of Who’s Who with the Lifetime Achievement Award representing Special Education and Special Education Law.

COLUMBUS, OH, February 07, 2020 /24-7PressRelease/ — Ellen Louise Wristen, JD, is a highly esteemed professional whose dedication to improving the lives of those with special needs led to her founding the prestigious Brookwood Academy, Inc. During her time working as Executive Director at Brookwood Academy, Inc., the school was set up with the aim of helping both special needs students and their parents by providing all the support needed to enable children to access an education that is rightfully theirs. After adopting her first son, who was also a special education student, she understood firsthand the challenges that students faced and wanted to help create change for all those in similar situations.

Following the closure of Brookwood Academy at the end of the 2018-2019 school year, Ellen Wristen continued in assisting parents as needed through the church mission outreach. The church that originally housed Brookwood Academy was Brookwood Presbyterian Church. Brookwood Presbyterian Church has now merged with two other local churches and is now a part of a new church named Unity Presbyterian Church.

Ellen Wristen is very committed to assisting parents/guardians make an appropriate written request that their child needs to be evaluated for special education services. Oral request made by a parent/guardian are typically forgotten and/or just not processed. Unfortunately, many written requests for an evaluation made independently by parents/guardians are not processed and/or misplaced by school staff and therefore not responded to leaving the parent in a very frustrating position. The requests that Ellen Wristen assists the parent/guardian write she mails to the school principal and other administrative school personnel, so the letter is not lost/misplaced. The letter is almost always responded to by the school district in a timely fashion. Ellen Wristen has found this process is extremely successful in assisting parents/guardians avoid having to engage in the complaint process and/or due process.

Ms. Wristen started her academic journey at Capital University where she received her BS in Secondary Education, followed by a certification to teach government/social studies shortly after. Ms. Wristen then spent the following two years teaching in a High School, but with a desire to push her knowledge and career further she decided to continue with her studies, returning once more to Capital University to achieve her JD. In 1974, Ms. Wristen was admitted to the Ohio bar and this allowed her to then begin practicing Law.

Prior to establishing Brookwood Academy, Ms. Wristen successfully practiced law for over 28 years, during which she regularly served in criminal courts. A pinnacle moment in her career happened after adopting her son, who also had special education needs. Her personal experiences with her beloved son compelled to make a career change and she subsequently moved into practicing special education law. Ms. Wristen thrived in this new role and went on to file approximately 150 due process actions per year, representing special needs children.

Her insight into Special Education Law made Ms. Wristen realize rather than helping special needs children in legal matters, she wanted to make a difference through improving their access to education. She was quoted as saying that “adopting and raising a son with mental health issues has helped me gain an understanding of mental health services and family issues as a whole.” She realized that many resources needed to fall into place at once to give these children the best possible start in life, with education being a key factor.

With a clear mission in mind, Ms. Wristen established the Brookwood Academy to offer this multi-dimensional support within an educational setting. With a strong belief that all children should be entitled to free appropriate public education (FAPE), her goal was to successfully identify children who would benefit from special education services, rather than leaving them to struggle or fail in mainstream schools, where they were often simply removed.

Looking to the future, Ms. Wristen hopes to continue building on her successes at Unity Presbyterian Church and to make a difference in the lives in as many children and their families as possible in the years ahead.

Unity Presbyterian Church is located at 6969 E. Livingston Ave., Reynoldsburg, OH 43068. Ellen may also be contacted through her cell phone number of 614-309-0161 or email [email protected]

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