How do people process and recognise faces?

Face Recognition Pic


Face Recognition

Previous research suggests that people on the Autism Spectrum may have difficultly recognising faces, but the evidence is far from conclusive, with many individuals actually showing good to exceptional skills.  It is hoped that this study will help us to understand more about face recognition in people with and without a diagnosis of Autism. Continue reading

How was your day?

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The Olga Tennison Autism Research Centre (OTARC), University of Melbourne and the Cooperative Research Centre for Living with Autism are running a new research study, investigating how children with ASD speak about their day at school.  “How was your day?” is looking in particular at the conversations that take place in the home.

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Parent input vital to improving research

Children and CRC Logo

The Autism CRC’s pioneering Australian Autism Biobank (AAB) depends on the ongoing involvement of parents for its success.

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Daniel’s Story: My Autism is a Gift

On 29th May OTARC received an email from Daniel Pugh, who wanted to share his story with those who may be interested.

Daniel’s Story provides insight into the struggles faced daily by students on the spectrum. Here is what he said.

Daniel Pugh

Daniel Pugh

I was happy to be made aware that the Olga Tennison Autism Research Centre exists. I discovered it purely by chance upon reading my local newspaper, the Warrnambool Standard, an affiliate of Fairfax Media.  I read an article about a young boy whose story is not dissimilar to my own, his name is Lucas Whittam. I saw mention of your institute in a quote from Professor Cheryl Dissanayake, and wanted to share my own experiences in what was a very turbulent childhood.

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Ask an Autism researcher – Is it possible to teach adults with autism to speak?


Thank you very much for submitting this question. Unfortunately, the simple answer is that we don’t know because there is no research evidence that tells us one way or the other. There are reports of individuals which indicate that it may be possible (see for example, but what works for one individual may not work for another. Because of that we cannot make any predictions about particular individuals.  However, it is important not to assume anything. Experiences through work, reading of the research literature, and listening to the personal stories of people with autism and their families lead us to think that we can’t predict what individual people with autism can or cannot learn, and we shouldn’t give up trying to help them to learn skills. We shouldn’t be surprised by surprises.
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Director’s Report – Winter 2016

Mrs Olga Tennison received a sloppy kiss from Talwin, the seal

Mrs Olga Tennison received a sloppy kiss from Talwin, the seal, at a recent visit to Melbourne Zoo.

Welcome to the Winter Edition of Another Piece!

We have farewelled a key staff member at OTARC, our Senior Advisor of Operations and Projects, Mr Wojciech Nadachowski. Wojciech left in late March to begin working at the Autism CRC as Chief Operations Officer. I would like to acknowledge the energy and expertise Woj brought to his role at OTARC, and all he has generously done for us over the last four years. His contributions will continue to keep us in good stead!

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Farewell to Peter Johansen

Peter with OTARC staff

Peter (fifth from the left) at a farewell lunch with OTARC staff.

The staff at OTARC recently held a farewell lunch for Peter Johansen.

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IMFAR 2016 Overview

PhD Candidate, Lacey Chetcuti, at IMFAR 2016

PhD Candidate, Lacey Chetcuti, discusses her poster with another IMFAR 2016 delegate.

By Lacey Chetcuti

The 15th annual International Meeting for Autism Research (IMFAR) was recently held in Baltimore, Maryland, USA. As a young researcher and first-time attendee, the three-day conference offered a valuable opportunity to get up-to-date with the exciting new findings in autism research, and interact with autism researchers from a range of disciplines and across the globe. Keynote speakers and panel sessions showcased findings from a wide range of topic areas, including epidemiology, service delivery, behavioural and intellectual assessment, and interventions across the lifespan, while an impressive line-up of poster sessions spanned 20 topic areas.

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Visitors to the Centre – April to June 2016

April 6

Ms. Ingalill Gimbler-Berglund with Professor Dissanayake.

Dr Ingalill Gimbler-Berglund, University Lecturer, Department of Nursing, Jonkoping University, Sweden, came to discuss preoperative procedures for children with Autism with Professor Dissanayake.

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