Laura Millen Memorial Award

Lorraine McErlean Laura Millen Memorial Award 2.jpg

We are happy to share that the winner of the 2018 Laura Millen Memorial Award is Lorrainne McErlean. Lorrainne’s work as a Speech and Language Therapist and her involvement with individuals with Autism has made her a very worthy winner of this award. 

Lorrainne began working as a Speech and Language Therapist 32 years ago, initially working in community clinics and with adults with learning difficulties. She developed her clinical skills supporting children with significant learning and communication difficulties. Lorrainne has held a central role in promoting multi-disciplinary working and developing Assessment clinics and services. 

Lorrainne gradually took on a leadership role within her service and as North & West and South & East Belfast Trusts merged to form the Belfast Trust in 2008, Lorrainne became Clinical Lead for the Child Development Speech and Language Therapy team. Leading a small team of therapists, she set out to achieve equity of services and waiting times across the whole trust.

Over her career, Lorrainne has been at the start of many new services for children with neurodevelopmental conditions including autism. She has had a pivotal role in shaping the future direction of these services. Starting as a clinician, she has moved into leadership roles and has worked at a trust and regional level influencing service development for autism. She has seen the changes in diagnostic terminology, the broadening of the diagnostic criteria and has witnessed many changes to how we understand autistic children and how we support them and their families. Lorrainne has always worked with integrity and most importantly, with the child and family at the centre. She continues to provide high standards of care and assessment in her role as an autism diagnostician and she leads a service of speech and language therapists who follow her model of compassionate and excellent care.

About the Award

The Board, Chief Executive Dr Arlene Cassidy and the staff at Autism NI as well as Laura's family created the 'Laura Millen Memorial Award' to acknowledge and honour the exceptional work of Speech and Language Therapists. The award is recognised by The College of Speech and Language Therapists and they have also been involved in the selection process.

Laura Millen was a member of Autism NI Board of Directors (Secretary) and she was also a valued and committed member of the Northern Ireland TEACCH Training Study Group. Laura was generous with her time and skills and was always willing to help whatever the task. Laura was also a Speech and Language Therapist at Hillcroft School, Newtownabbey, this was a job she loved and both teachers and pupils enjoyed her contribution to school life over several years. She very much enjoyed working with young individuals with Autism and was always delighted with their achievements. Laura will be remembered for her sense of humour, gentleness and sincerity.

Please find attached a form at the bottom of the page, if you would like to nominate a worthy candidate.