Author. Scientist. Professor. Advocate. Inventor. Autistic. Those are some of the general words to describe Temple Grandin, one of the most important figures to help understand Autism Spectrum Disorders from the inside. Few people have changed the world of Autism more than she, transforming what was once thought to be a life-sentence in an institution to a life full of opportunity and appreciation for an autistic individual’s abilities and strengths.
After being non-verbal for the first 3½ years of her life, communicating only through humming, peeping and screaming, Temple was diagnosed with Autism and it was recommended that she be institutionalized. Instead, she worked her way through life and schooling, finally finding a breakthrough with a mentor who nurtured her strengths rather than focusing on her limitations. Not only did she graduate high school and college, but she pursued and earned a Ph.D. in animal science.
Her unique set of skills led her to an understanding of animal behavior that has led to safer, more humane ways of handling animals. But more than anything, she’s been able to prove with her lived experience that Autism is not a disability, but rather a different ability.
Her advice to parents is profound: “Parents get so worried about the deficits that they don’t build up the strengths, but those skills could turn into a job. These kids often have uneven skills. We need to be a lot more flexible about things” –Temple Grandin, The Autistic Brain: Thinking Across the Spectrum
As Temple Grandin says, the world needs all kinds of minds and we at SoCozy wholeheartedly agree.
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