Temple Grandin, PhD, Discusses Her Experience With Autism

In a YouTube video entitled “My Experience with Autism,” Temple Grandin, Ph.D., professor of Animal Science at Colorado State University, speaks candidly about her experience with autism. Grandin talks about her childhood fraught with tantrums, rocking, and language delay.

She describes the autism spectrum, as “a continuum of traits,” and points out strengths, such as talents autistic children may possess. In particular, she urges parents and caregivers to develop talents rather than “pound away at the deficit.”

Grandin talks about how Silicon Valley inventions, such as the I-pod, were conceived by those with Aspergers’ syndrome, a type of autism. And she mentions that successful Aspergers in Silicon Valley had parents who found apprenticeship programs for their 8-year old children, who excelled in subjects, such as computer programming.

She also discusses some of the deficits in the autism spectrum, particularly sensory problems and how to deal with them. For example, some autistic children see flickering lights coming from their computers. This problem can be solved by allowing students with autism to use laptops.

Grandin points out that children are often teased at school and need to find other children who share their interests. For instance, Grandin explains that although it was painful to be teased in high school, she interacted with kids who liked and rode horses like she, and they didn’t tease her.

Near the end of the first half of the lecture, Grandin explains the importance of teaching values and encouraging children to “do good things,” such as helping out in a soup kitchen.

In the second half of the lecture, Grandin talks about careers that may be suitable for autistic individuals and the importance of mentors. She also mentions the weighted blanket and vest for calming, treatments, and the benefit of a proper diet and exercise.

She discusses medications prescribed for autism and says, “You have to figure out what works.”Every case is different.”

Grandin has written several books, including Thinking in Pictures: My Life with Autism.