Education: Ruth Sullivan earned her doctorate in psychology from Ohio University in 1984 in psychology, speech, and hearing science and special education. She also has degrees in public health nursing and public health administration.
The following is a video where Ruth Sullivan shares her experiences with receiving her son's autism diagnosis and her dreams for autism services and research.
Autism Society of America: Ruth Sullivan was one of the founders of the Autism Society of America (formerly called National Society for Autistic Children) and served as its first President in 1965. The Autism Society of America is the oldest grass roots organization in the autism community (Wikipedia: Autism Society of America). She continues to be an honorary board member of the organization.
Ruth Sullivan made key contributions to this 2009 video by the Autism Society of America called The Future of Autism.
Autism Services Center: Ruth Sullivan founded the Autism Services Center in Huntington, West Virginia in 1979 as a nonprofit behavioral health center. It serves Cabell, Wayne, Lincoln, Mason and Putnam counties in the state of West Virginia. She retired from the organization in 2007, at the age of 83 (Hilary Groutage, Herald-Dispatch, October 30, 2007).
West Virginia Autism Training Center: Ruth Sullivan helped form the West Virginia Autism Training Center at Marshall University in Huntington. It has been her dream that every major university would one day have their own autism training center.
Rain Man Movie: Ruth Sullivan served as an autism consultant to the 1988 movie Rain Man, starring Dustin Hoffman. Her son Joseph was one of the individuals with autism that Dustin Hoffman studied in order to improve his role in the movie.
Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA): Ruth Sullivan was one of the lobbyists for Public Law No. 94-142, which became a United States law in 1975 and since 1990 has been called the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act or IDEA. It became the landmark law that guaranteed handicapped children with autism and other disabilities had the right to receive a Free and Appropriate Public Education (FAPE). The ramifications of this law continue to this day to be felt in important rights that parents and their children have when working with diverse public school systems around the country.
Temple Grandin: Ruth Sullivan was the first person to invite Temple Grandin (Autism Light #38) to speak in public about her autism. She also wrote the forward to Temple Grandin's book The Way I See It: A Personal Look at Autism and Asperger's (2008)
Wikipedia: Visit the Ruth C. Sullivan Wikipedia page for more information on this Autism Light.
Special thanks to Dr. Ruth Sullivan for being an Autism Light. Her faithfulness as a mother and advocate has sent rays of hope for autism across the United States. May the example that Ruth Sullivan has provided inspire other mothers to carry forth the light to meet a new generation of autism needs.
Autism Light honors diverse heroes to the world of autism.
Special Note: Ruth Sullivan is the new Autism Light #155 replacing the numbered spot on the blog left vacant after the removal of Dr. Hans Asperger.