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Focus on Strengths!

Rosalie Winard

Dr. Grandin knows a lot about autism because she is the most successful adult with autism in the world! Interviewing Dr. Temple Grandin, reading her website, books and watching her movie makes pieces come together about understanding autism and gives ideas how we could make a difference in our school. She is a Professor of Animal Science at Colorado State University, an author of bestselling books, featured in many T.V. shows and explains animal behavior with the livestock industry. An HBO film was even made about her life. In Time Magazine, she was listed one of the most influential people in the world!
She mentioned that autism is “variable from somebody who is smart with computers to somebody that’s not able to talk and needs lots of help in school.” Autism is when you think and learn differently. The brain is different and affects how you act, your senses, interaction with others and how you communicate with others. The worst problem she had in school was when she was bullied and teased. She said that we need to help these kids because they “don’t pick up on subtle social cues like eye signals.” Temple still remembers when she was laughed at and teased a tremendous amount because of her autism and it really hurt. The most important thing we could do is to “make sure that nobody teases or bullies them.”
Dr. Grandin also had advice for kids with autism to work on your talents and what you’re good at doing to connect more with classmates. The best peers were those who shared interests with her. She recommends getting into art, music, computers, math or being in a school play to make new friends. “We need to help everybody to develop their strengths.” Dr. Grandin was very interested in animals and made a career out of it!
The brains of autistic kids are “different but not less” as descriptively explained by Dr. Temple Grandin in one of her books. Look more at what autistic kids do well and be encouraging. We could ALL learn from each other.