Southern Utah University and Ask. Ponder. Educate. [X]. had the pleasure of hosting Dr. Temple Grandin on Feb. 10.
American scientist, animal behaviorist and autism activist Grandin has had a hand in changing the way autism is viewed across the country. She has published over 60 scientific papers on animal behavior and numerous books on understanding autism including her latest co-authorship with Carol Gray, “Autism in Lockdown.”
Her importance to numerous different fields of study was not ignored at SUU. The Great Hall was filled wall to wall with attentive students, teachers and community members. The audience overflowed from the hallway outside and down the stairs as listening ears grasped everything Grandin had to say.
The majority of Grandin’s presentation focused on not “label locking” individuals, specifically children, with autism and how to help the same individuals flourish in society.
She told the story of a 12-year-old girl with autism who had never purchased anything on her own before. By preventing this girl from learning skills at a young age, she was being robbed of her own potential.
“They don’t think their children can do anything,” Grandin said.
She continued by promoting the allowance of children to work as soon as they are able to and teaching them about how to work even sooner. Working inside the home and outside of the home, children are able to capitalize on interpersonal skills needed for a successful future.
This promotion of greatness can also begin in school. By understanding whether a child is a visual, mathematical or verbal thinker, a parent can help to nurture that which they are good at.
Grandin also spoke to adults with autism, explaining that a label for an adult can be extremely helpful. An adult has already learned how to work but a label at an older age helps to explain why they are suffering in social situations. They are then able to work around that which is holding them back.
“Find mentors and teachers,” Grandin advised. “The people that helped me the most were not trained therapists.”
Article and Photo by Audrey Gee