The story of autism research in Australia: A conversation with Cheryl Dissanayake

With the help of a generous benefactor, autism research in Australia is gathering critical mass.

Black and white watercolor-style portrait of Cheryl Dissanayake.
Illustration by Kate Copeland

Cheryl Dissanayake is a professor at La Trobe University in Melbourne, Australia, and the Olga Tennison Endowed Chair in Autism Research at the Olga Tennison Autism Research Center. She has been researching autism since 1984. Spectrum spoke with her about her path to autism science, the history of the field in Australia, and the importance of Melbourne hosting the 2024 INSAR annual conference, which Dissanayake will chair. In this conversation, Dissanayake mentions Margot Prior, Bruce Tonge, Lawrence Bartak, Ross Day, Stella Crosley, Marian Sigman, Beryl McKenzie and Olga Tennison — all notable names from Australia’s autism research community.

Read the transcript here.