Dinah Murray, who has died aged 75 of pancreatic cancer, was a key figure in autism studies, and an indefatigable advocate for autistic people for three decades. Her acute insight lay in the importance of attention and interests to an understanding of the condition.
On the autistic spectrum herself and fascinated with language and the mind, in 1991 Murray read Uta Frith’s book Autism: Explaining the Enigma. She had a eureka moment when it spoke of an autistic person’s attention “going to their leading interest”.
You’re a child looking at a beautiful button… If someone comes in and says ‘cat’, you’re their victim