Laura James was presented with the Award for Outstanding Achievement by an Individual on the Autism Spectrum at a special ceremony Harrogate on March 7.
The annual event, supported by headline sponsor Axcis Education Recruitment, was hosted by Jane Asher and Kate Fox and is part of a two-day conference for autism professionals.
The winners were chosen by an independent panel of 10 autism experts who judged each nomination on their innovation, creativity, impact and sustainability.
Mrs James only found out she was autistic in 2015, after she had forged a successful career as a journalist, married twice and raised four children.
Since her diagnosis, she has been a tireless campaigner for better understanding and acceptance of autism, particularly within the media.
Her ninth book, Odd Girl Out, was published last year and is a memoir on autism.
It tracks the year after her diagnosis, as she looks back at her life and learns that ‘different’ doesn’t need to mean ‘less’.