Prior, Margot AO

  • Margot Prior profile picture

    Date and place of birth

    1937 Melbourne Victoria, Australia


    24 Aug 2020

    University attended

    B Mus., BA. University of Melbourne, MSc., PhD Monash University

    Positions held at The Royal Children's Hospital

    • 1994-2002 Professor/Director of Psychology the RCH and University of Melbourne
    • Founder of the Learning Difficulties Centre at The Royal Children's Hospital

    Other positions held

    • 2002 - current 2015 Professorial Fellow. The University of Melbourne
    • 1989 - 1994 Professor of Clinical Psychology, LaTrobe University
    • 1994 - current 2015 Adjunct Professor Latrobe University

    Clinical Iinterests

    • Child and Family Psychology
    • Learning Difficulties
    • Neuropsychology of Music
    • Cognitive Neuropsychology
    • Child temperament and development
    • Autism Spectrum Disorders and Treatment
    • Aboriginal Family and Child Counselling


    Child development and disorders including autism, dyslexia, ADHD, music and the brain, child temperament and language development.

    Author of approximately 300 reviewed publications and 7 authored and edited books.

    Research Associate, Murdoch Children's Research Institute.

    Career highlights/memorable moments

    • Fellow of the Academy of the Social Sciences in Australia
    • Fellow of the Australian Psychological Society
    • 2005-2007 Chair, Social and Human Sciences Network, Australian National Commission for UNESCO
    • Co-Founder of the Victorian Parenting Centre (now the Parenting Research Centre)

    Honours and awards

    • The Autism Specific Early Learning and Care Centre at La Trobe’s Children’s Centre has been named in her honour - The Margot Prior Wing
    • The Order of Australia (AO) (2004)
    • Senior Australian of the year for Victoria (2006)
    • Eminent Researcher Award of the Australian Journal of Learning Difficulties 2013
    • The Australian Psychological Society President’s Award for Distinguished Contribution to Psychology in Australia (2005)

    Outside The Royal Children's Hospital

    Margot was born into a family whose ancestors came from Wales and who were all musical. It is not surprising then that when she finished High School she went to Melbourne University Conservatorium and completed a music degree. After a short burst of secondary teaching Margot developed her musical career on piano and Oboe and Cor Anglais and became a professional musician from 1959 to 1980. Margot played in numerous chamber music groups, and orchestras in Australia and in London as well as giving solo recitals.

    Margot made a midlife career change when she completed her Psychology PhD in 1975/6 at Monash University, and went to a lecturer position in Psychology at LaTrobe University. This severely curtailed her music career although she has continued to play the piano to the present time. At LaTrobe Margot learned how to be a clinical psychologist  (via bootstrapping and numerous excellent mentors), as well as developing a strong research profile in areas related to child development. These included: ADHD, Autism, Dyslexia, Child Behaviour Problems and their treatment, Developmental Neuropsychology, Music and the Brain (in adults with brain impairment), Temperament and development from infancy to adolescence. Margot's clinical work has covered children and families from all walks of life and with a wide range of problems. She also worked with aboriginal families and children in a voluntary basis for twelve years.

    Eventually Margot became the first female Professor of Clinical Psychology in Australia (1989). In 1994 she was appointed Head of the Psychology Department at the RCH with a conjoint appointment at The University of Melbourne. She has given lectures, workshops and seminars across Australia and in many other countries.

    Highlights in her life have been: working with wonderful colleagues in many places; solo oboe recitals on the BBC, keynote addresses in the UK, USA, China, India, and Australia, and the work she did with RCH International in Vietnam.