Olga Tennison 'Honorary Grandmother'

One of Australia’s most generous benefactors for research on Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASDs) will become an ‘Honorary Grandmother’ at La Trobe University next Monday, 2 April.

OlgaThe parents of children at La Trobe’s Autism Specific Early Learning and Care Centre: the Margot Prior Wing of the Community Children’s Centre will celebrate World Autism Awareness Day by presenting Mrs Olga Tennison with ‘Honorary Grandmother’ status of their children.


Mrs Tennison has generously donated more than a million dollars to establish Australia’s first research centre dedicated to ASDs—The Olga Tennison Autism Research Centre (OTARC) in 2008 which aims to advance knowledge of the nature and causes of ASD.

OTARC Director, Dr Dissanayake, says Olga Tennison should be applauded by the people of Victoria for providing a place to research a condition that affects one out of every 100 children and therefore raising awareness of ASDs. 

‘Our autism learning centre,’ says Dr Dissanayake, ‘would not have been possible without Olga’s generous donation for the establishment of the research centre in 2008. Now research and service sit in close companion, one informing the other, which is as it should be’, says Dr Dissanayake.

‘So parents have decided that they would like to thank her by asking her to be ‘honorary grandmother’ to all the children at the centre. She loves visiting and seeing the important work being done here with the children.’ 

La Trobe Adjunct Professor Margot Prior, Chair of the Advisory Committee of the OTARC and one of Australia’s leading childhood development and autism experts, and after whom the learning centre is names, will also attend the presentation and visit the children for World Autism Awareness day.

For more information or to arrange an interview please contact:

Meghan Lodwick

La Trobe University Communications Officer

T:  03 9479 5353 M:  0418 495 941 E: M.Lodwick@latrobe.edu.au