We were very lucky to meet her and hear a presentation by her, brought to us by the Autism Society of South Central Wisconsin. For those of you who don’t rotate in the world of Autism and Asperger’s Syndrome, Dr. Temple Grandin is a very well-known woman with Autism who made made a success of herself with a lot determination. She has a doctorate in Animal Husbandry and is a professor at the University of Colorado. Her mother pushed her to achieve and Temple thanked her during the presentation. We arrived just after 5 PM at the Gordon Dining and Event Center downtown, on the UW campus. The first order of business was checking in, it was a sold-out event of 500 guests! After checking in we had the opportunity of getting one of her books signed and a photo with her. I happened to have her first book, “Emergence-Labeled Autistic”, which covers a good part of her childhood and treatment. Mine was an older edition, but has since been updated. Here is her autograph. Also our picture with her. What a thrill! She is gracious and we were so excited to be there. at 6:00 the presentation began, lets watch the introduction and first few minutes of her presentation.
We learned a lot about her childhood, and she recommended watching the movie also. Accompanying the presentation was a slideshow to demonstrate her points. She has noticed too that children have very little time now for playing, “unstructured play”, and it was inhibiting creativity and developing social skills. She also had us laughing many times, things she saw in society that the rest of us also noticed by rarely verbalized. Also the decline of “common sense” relating to political correctness. She gave an example that was in the news, the kid getting in trouble for biting a toaster pastry to look like a gun back in September 2013. Here is an update on this story. She summed up her presentation with this slide, emphasizing the need for lots of support to help a child on the spectrum (or any child!) grow up to have a fulfilling life as an adult. Temple then took questions from the audience from about 7:30-8. Many questions were from parents with questions about therapy and ways to help their kids. You could hear the pain in their voices as they asked, some people had a hard time getting the help they needed. Temple was quite helpful in her suggestions.
Afterwards, the Autism Society board (my husband Al Kutil included!) got on the stage for a picture with Temple, quite an honor indeed!
It was a great evening and we were so lucky to have been able to attend this very special presentation.
Related Articles and Sites
* Colorado State University – Temple Grandin page
* Scientific American on “The Autistic Brain”