Friday, November 28, 2014

Temple Grandin's AMA (ask me anything) on Reddit

On Monday, November 17th, Professor Temple Grandin answered questions on a forum called Science AMA (ask me anything). She answered questions not just about having autism, but also about her passion - humane conditions for animal in slaughterhouses.

Many people may have scene the HBO Movie Temple Grandin, which starred Claire Danes as Temple Grandin. After seeing this movie, I thought it portrayed Autism in a way I've never experienced, through the eyes of someone who has it. Temple Grandin says the movie very closely portrays her life, and includes actual events, including trying out the squeeze machine, and finding bull's testicles on her windshield when she started working in the agriculture world as a woman.

Two quotes from Temple's AMA really stuck out to me.

The first was in response to this question "What is the most important advice you can give to a parent who is raising a child with autism?"
Temple stated:

If you have a 2 or 3 year old who is not talking, you must start an early intervention program. The worst thing you can do with an autistic 3 year old is to do nothing. These young children need 20 or 30 hours a week of one to one teaching with an adult. A good teacher can engage the child. There are many different teaching protocols, and many of them are effective. The most important factor is encouraging the child to engage socially with the teacher. In places where there are no services, it’s helpful to find grandparents to work with the children. Some of the activities the grandmother could do include playing games that involve taking turns, teaching words, and singing nursery rhymes. They are often effective teachers. My book, “The Way I See It” may be helpful.

And the second one that stood out was in response to this question "What skills and supports helped you growing up with autism? What were some of the most valuable strategies to deal with the educational and social systems? My son is brilliant but struggles"

Temple stated:

Develop your son’s strengths. My ability in art was always encouraged, and I was encouraged to draw many different things because you have to learn to do work that other people want. I had a wonderful science teacher in high school who gave me interesting projects to do, and he motivated me to study. In elementary school, I had some wonderful teachers and Mother did not over protect me. You need to stretch kids slightly outside their comfort zones, but never have surprises. There is a tendency for some parents to overprotect their child and do all the talking for him. It is important to pause, and give the child an opportunity to talk and express his/her thoughts. I was bullied and teased in high school. My refuges from bullying were specialized interest groups, such as horse riding, electronics, and model rocket group. It’s important for your son to get involved with special interest groups where he can participate with his peers. My book, “The Autistic Brain,” has information on career opportunities for people on the milder end of the autism spectrum. People on the autism spectrum tend to have uneven skills. They will be good in one subject and possibly struggle in another subject. I am a visual thinker who had problems with algebra. Another child may be very good at mathematics, and may struggle with reading. My book has more information about the different types of thinking.

Temple's answers were straightforward and honest. I have read several of her books, but knowing that she considers the HBO movie to be quite accurate, I will recommend others to view it if they aren't interested in reading her books.

Here is a link to the Reddit Science AMA, where Professor Grandin answers many questions. Since AMA's are open forums, there are many questions that go unanswered. Make sure to note her "flair", which is the green oval next to her user name. This will tell you when she was actually able to answer the questions.  Here is the link.

Professor Temple Grandin currently teaches at Colorado State University (CSU). I attended CSU for my undergraduate degree, but always missed her talks on Autism. I hope someday to see her in person.


Shelly thinks her husband's turkey is the best!

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