On March 14, FSCJ hosted the annual Author Series Learning Community Event featuring Dr. Temple Grandin, author of several books including “Thinking in Pictures: My Life with Autism” and “The Autistic Brain.”
Dr. Grandin, considered the most accomplished and well-known adult with autism in the world, has been featured on National Public Radio as well as major television programs such as ABC's Primetime Live and 20/20.
Her fascinating story was also the subject of a 2010 film. In “Thinking in Pictures: My Life with Autism,” Dr. Grandin explores a variety of topics related to autism, including animal behavior, religion and visual thought, among others. FSCJ faculty adopted the book for use and discussion throughout their Spring Term classes.
Dr. Grandin’s presentation last month explored autism and learning differences. It highlighted the importance of creativity, collaborating with all kinds of minds and treating each person as an individual. Grandin began her presentation by profiling famous innovators such as Thomas Edison and Jane Goodall; her refrain was, “What would happen to this person in our current educational system today?”
She emphasized the commonalities among these extraordinary minds: early exposure to career interests, questionable performance in formal academic environments and an indirect, through-the-back-door entry into their fields.
Dr. Grandin passionately insisted that autistic people should partake in meaningful work where they can learn to collaborate, be on time and complete routine tasks. To nearly every parent who approached her with a question, Dr. Grandin asked, “What does your child do? What do you do?” To help individuals on the spectrum, Dr. Grandin says she holds everyone accountable.
Despite her work as an autism advocate, Dr. Grandin declared her desire to “break out of the autism box,” stating that her priority is her work with animals. “Dr. Grandin’s outspoken career ambitions remind us what we’re all advocating for: increased self-determination for all members of society, regardless of their medical labels,” said Adjunct Instructor Emily K. Michael, who attended the event.
Grandin left the audience with a few guiding principles, applicable to people on and off the autism spectrum: less screen time, more hands-on activities and greater exposure to different things.
To learn more about Dr. Grandin’s FSCJ Author Series presentation, please read Emily K. Michael’s blog post on the event. To view more photos, visit our Flickr photostream.