Sunday, November 23, 2014

Lorna Wing

Autism Light #367 is Dr. Lorna Wing.

Lorna Wing was born on October 7, 1928, and passed away on June 6, 2014. She was a psychiatrist and autism mother in the United Kingdom. After learning that her daughter Susie had autism she focused the research she did in her long medical career on improving autism. One would be hard pressed to find a psychiatrist who has done so much for autism in the United Kingdom over the last half of the 20th Century. Dr. Lorna Wing is an Autism Light for her outstanding achievements to shine a light for autism, which included being an author, introducing the term "Asperger's Syndrome", and being one of the founders of the National Autistic Society in the United Kingdom. Lorna Wing will be placed on the Autism Light Memorial Roll today.

Lorna Wing passed away due to complications of Alzheimer's. She was preceded in death by her daughter Susie in 2009 and her husband John in 2010.  You can read her obituary at the New York Times and at The UK Telegraph. A special tribute to Lorna Wing was held at the National Autistic Society meeting on November 22, 2014.

It was her daughter Susie's diagnosis of autism in the late 1950's that led Lorna Wing to focus on children with autism in her profession. She said,
When Susie was diagnosed there was no support for parents and children. We felt so suddenly and unexpectedly different to everyone else. Now there is a lot out there, and there are lots of good books. The huge change that has happened is the general recognition that autism exists (Lorna Wing, Autism: a mother's labour of love, May 24, 2011).

Here is a video of an interview done with Dr. Lorna Wing.

Author: Lorna Wing's most influential publication might have been her paper she published in 1981 called Asperger syndrome: a clinical account. It was in this work that she introduced the term Asperger's syndrome to refer to a specific group of people on the autism spectrum. Dr. Lorna Wing is also the author of numerous other books on autism. You can check out her page on Amazon for the list of her works that are still available. Books she authored include the following:
Twitter: Kevin Healey said this about Lorna Wing on Twitter.

National Autistic Society: Lorna Wing was part of a group that started the National Autistic Society in 1962. The National Autistic Society is the leading United Kingdom charity for people with autism and they "provide information, support and pioneering services, and campaign for a better world for people with autism (National Autistic Society Website)."  Lorna Wing served a vital role over the years as an autism consultant to the National Autistic Society's Lorna Wing Centre for Autism, which plays an important role in diagnosing autism.

Wikipedia: To learn more about Lorna Wing visit her Wikipedia page.

The autism community in the United Kingdom and around the world owes a debt of gratitude for the lifetime achievements of Dr. Lorna Wing. It is hoped that in her memory others will rise up to further the work of autism to a new generation.

Autism Light honors diverse heroes to the world of autism.

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