Healthcare and Life Sciences 50 – 2016

Ruth Sullivan/Autism Society of America

Dr. Ruth Sullivan is the founder and former executive director of the Autism Services Center, a nonprofit health care center that provides assistance to families of individuals with developmental difficulties.

Prior to establishing the Autism Services Center, Ruth co-founded the Autism Society of America in 1965, as well as its first elected president. She now serves as an honorary board member.

Ruth assisted in the production of the 1988 film Rain Man, acting as consultant for Dustin Hoffman on autistic behaviours, and allowed him to spend time with her son, Joseph, who is himself autistic. Ruth has written many articles on autism from the perspective of care providers, most recently in the 2005 Handbook of Autism and Pervasive Development Disorders, edited by Fred Volkmar.

Born into a large Irish Catholic family of eight, Ruth has continued this tradition with her husband, William, and has seven children of her own. She currently lives in Virginia. (See sidebar on page 60 for a short interview.)