About OTARC

John Dewar, Cheryl Dissanayake, Olga Tennison, and Alan Watkinson (left to right, 2013)

We are Australia's first centre dedicated to autism research.

OTARC was established in 2008 with the incredible generosity of the late Mrs Olga Tennison AO. A tribute to Mrs Tennison was delivered by NSW Senator Hollie Hughes in Federal Parliament in 2020. Here is an excerpt from the Senator’s speech.

OTARC is located within the School of Psychology and Public Health at La Trobe University in Melbourne, Australia. We work with autistic people and their families to produce high quality, relevant research to:

  • facilitate positive developmental outcomes in the lives of autistic people, from infancy through to early childhood and beyond
  • enable autistic people to realise their full potential throughout their life course
  • support families as their young autistic children grow and develop.

We have a strong focus on research translation through the development of evidence-based tools and collaborate with other autism research centres and institutes both in Australia and internationally. You can read more about the Centre in the 2019 Strategic Plan

OTARC's latest Newsletter

2021 Annual Report

We have just released our 2021 Annual report, looking back on the achievements and performance of the Centre in this past year.

2021 Annual Report [PDF 1.2MB]


Living History

You can hear from Olga Tennison herself in a recording made for La Trobe University’s Living History project celebrating the diverse stories of our students, alumni, staff and supporters over the past 50 years.


Working with us

Available positions are usually advertised via La Trobe jobs.

Some entry-level research assistant positions have been filled from our volunteers.

Register to volunteer at OTARC