Lorri Shealy Unumb is a lawyer, mother of three teenage boys, and an internationally renowned autism advocate. She began her career as an appellate attorney with the United States Department of Justice and then as a full-time law professor. Following her son’s diagnosis with autism, she began volunteering for autism causes, writing ground-breaking autism insurance legislation for South Carolina (“Ryan’s Law”) that passed in 2007 and served as the catalyst for the national movement toward autism insurance reform. She served for a decade as the head of state government affairs for the national nonprofit Autism Speaks, and now serves as the CEO of The Council of Autism Service Providers. She is also the founder of the annual Autism Law Summit and is author of “Autism and the Law.”
For her local, national, and international advocacy efforts, Lorri has been recognized with
- the NASCAR Foundation’s Betty Jane France Humanitarian Award;
- the Miss South Carolina Pageant “Woman of Achievement” Award;
- the Jefferson Award for Public Service (Charleston, SC);
- the Professional Women in Advocacy “Excellence in a State Campaign” Award; and
- the Civitan International World Citizenship Award.
Her work has been profiled on CNN, on NPR’s “Morning Edition,” and in Town&Country magazine, from whom she received one of three 2009 “Women Who Make a Difference” awards. She is also profiled in the American Academy of Pediatrics 2013 book “Autism Spectrum Disorders: What Every Parent Needs to Know.”