Saturday, September 17, 2011

Temple Grandin

This past week was one of the busiest weeks I've had yet. Something was planned every night of the week, which was fun, and made the week fly by! On Wednesday I went to see Temple Grandin speak. If you have no idea who I am talking about, read below, watch the movie, and read one of her books. She is incredible.

The Temple Grandin presentation was very inspiring. Temple was diagnosed with autism in the early '50s when the term 'autism' was just beginning to come around. She didn't speak until she was 3 1/2 years old, and obviously had several challenges ahead of her. Doctors said she should be institutionalized, but her mother was dedicated to helping Temple achieve more in life. Despite those challenges, Temple is a leader in the autism world for her incredible intellect (she has her Phd!!!), is a professor in Colorado, and has discovered humane ways to care for cattle that almost 1/2 of the U.S. slaughterhouses use today.

That's Temple. She is always wearing something 'ranchy'. : )

A characteristic of autism is that of fixations. Temple was fixated on a machine that she would try to dream up that would offer her a stimulating feeling that she longed for from human contact, but because of autism, would reject any physical contact made. After working on her aunt's ranch in Arizona, she saw the cattle being put into this cattle chute to hold them and to calm them down if they needed vaccinations or branding or something like that. This device fascinated Temple and she literally made her own cattle chute for herself to calm her nervousness and anxiety, and that would later help her accept and give physical contact to others, and also help her understand her emotions.

Temple speaking. It is really incredible how far she's come.

Temple signing someone's book!

Temple signed my book! : ) And I only have 2 chapters left! Who wants to borrow it?

It's an incredible story. The thing about Temple is, is that she is so aware of herself and her thoughts. She thinks in pictures, which most of us do. But with Temple, if you say the word 'shoe', she literally can picture any shoe she has actually seen and know who was wearing it.

It was really neat; at the end there was time for questions and a lot of people in the audience on the autism spectrum went up and asked her questions.

I would highly recommend everyone watch the HBO film about her life, called Temple Grandin. It stars Claire Danes, who does an incredible job of taking on Temple's voice influx and mannerisms.

Well, I hope you are enjoying your weekend as much as I am.

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