We are deeply saddened to hear of the passing of our patron Professor Sir Michael Rutter. Sir Michael was a consultant psychiatrist at the Maudsley Hospital and a professor of developmental psychopathology at King’s College London. He was regarded by many as the “father of child psychiatry”, with a career spanning many areas including a huge contribution to the field of autism research.

Over the course of a sixty-year career, he adapted and refined his approach to autism research. His many contributions include developing a better understanding of the prevalence of autism, broadening the diagnostic criteria, highlighting the hereditary nature of autism, and recognising the complexity of autism and co-occurring conditions. He created practical progress for autistic people by improving diagnostic processes, calling for greater supports in adulthood and challenging standards of institutional care.

Sir Michael was always very supportive of Autistica's work, eventually taking on his role as our patron. He was also supportive of me personally and he will be greatly missed by the many people whose lives he touched.

Dr James Cusack, CEO of Autistica

We send our thoughts and sympathies to Sir Michael’s family, friends and colleagues.