Our Night With Temple Grandin

Temple Grandin conference

Way back in 2014 the NY Beef Producers’ Association provided an over the top, awesome  opportunity for the autism community and Malcolm and I had the privilege of being able to take advantage of it!

Since we do not raise beef cows what could the NY Beef Producers’ Association possibly offer anything we’d be interested in, you might be wondering!

Well, it’s because after their conference in Syracuse, NY they very generously donated their distinguished key note speaker’s time and shared her with the autism community.

Why would the autism community be interested in the Beef Producer Association’s key note speaker, you might be wondering?

The answer to that question may surprise you!

The autism community was extremely interested in their key note speaker because she was none other than the famous Dr. Temple Grandin!!

The Beef Producer Association graciously contacted the Kelberman Center for Autism in Utica, NY and offered to cover the cost of what would normally be a $200 ticket affair!

As it turned out, at least 600 other people-probably more, also took advantage of that very kind and generous offer, so thank you very much NY Beef Producers’ Association!

The line when we arrived.
The line when we arrived.

TG2Not only is Temple Grandin a famous and extremely successful animal behavior scientist, she’s also a woman with autism and she was also a hoot!

She surprised me by having a great sense of humor.

It just goes to show that the myth that every person with autism has no sense of humor, is just that, a myth!

Because of that stereotypical myth, (of which I, myself was guilty of having) I supposed Ms. Grandin would be a very serious, business like and sober speaker, but let me tell you she’s not like that at all!

She was funny, interesting, opinionated, captivating, fascinating, and a pleasure to listen to.

And let me just also say- She knows sooo much stuff!

She’s like a human encyclopedia!

Her brain is absolutely jam packed with information!

Dr. Grandin lectured for a little over an hour about how to help and assist people with autism to become successful, self supporting citizens.

She stressed the importance of early intervention and is of the opinion that if parents notice that their baby is displaying autistic tendencies they should immediately begin working with them as if they do have autism.

Don’t wait until they are officially diagnosed.

The earlier they get help the better.

TG4TG5

Ms. Grandin admonished parents not to let their children with autism become reclusive or have too much screen time.

She recommends gently and gradually pushing them out of their comfort zones and allowing them only one hour of screen time a day.

She also thinks that children with autism should be permitted time to stim every day- maybe an hour alone in their rooms at the end of each day, not when they are supposed to be engaged in other activities or in the presence of their typical peers.
TG7

Temple believes the schools did a huge disservice to kids with special needs when they took sewing, cooking, wood working, and other hands on classes out of the schools.

She recommends that parents try to find apprenticeships or other ways of providing these types of activities and/or jobs for their children so that they will have skills to become productive citizens in their communities.

Another issue she has with schools is that they don’t allow kids to work to their abilities.

She believes that if the third grader can’t read at grade level but can do high school geometry then let him do geometry on the computer and go to the resource room for reading instruction!

She is also of the opinion that children should be taught both phonics and the sight word method when learning to read.

Another recommendation was for parents to develop their child’s talents, interests, and passions and encourage them to turn their interests into their career.

And lastly, my daughter Rebekah and no doubt countless others will be very happy to know that the Famous Dr.Temple Grandin PhD. thinks Algebra is stupid!

*(A version of this post was first published in January 2014.)
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