Tributes flood in for autism pioneer Lorna Wing (1928 – 2014)


Dr Lorna Wing, one of the founders of The National Autistic Society (NAS), died on 6 June 2014 at the age of 85.

Dr Wing developed the concept of autism as a spectrum condition in the 1970s, and later coined the term Asperger’s syndrome. Her work revolutionised the way autism was regarded and her influence was felt across the globe.

As a researcher and clinician, as well as mother to a child with autism, she always advocated for better understanding and services for people with autism and their families.

NAS President Jane Asher said: “It is entirely due to Lorna Wing that I ever became involved in autism. I shall miss her terribly, and the world of autism has lost one of its greatest and most important figures.”

Judith Gould, joint founder and Director of the NAS Lorna Wing Centre and a great friend of Dr Wing said: “She was exceptionally generous with her time and support for anyone who asked for her advice. She gave freely with her ideas and expected nothing in return. Her contribution to the lives of everyone who knew her is immeasurable. I will miss her greatly.”

President of the International Society for Autism Research Francesca Happé said: “Everyone who studies autism and many who live or work with those with autism, know how much we owe Lorna… Her wisdom, warmth and intellectual generosity touched so many lives, and the autism research community owes her so much.”

A founding parent of the NAS, Michael Baron, said: “Lorna was a unique parent. With Helen [Allison] they were the two rocks on which the NAS was built.”

The NAS has started a book of remembrance for Dr Wing.

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