Campus Life, News

Temple Grandin discusses autism, better understanding of the mind

Nicholas Gangemi // Staff photographer

Nicholas Gangemi // Staff photographer

Speaking to a crowd of 6,000 at the Bank United Center on Thursday night, acclaimed author and autism activist Dr. Temple Grandin preached just how successful those with autism can be in life.

“Half of Silicon Valley could be placed on the autism spectrum,” said Grandin. “They just haven’t been tested for it.”

She went on to clarify her statements, stating that the reality of autism is that it is hard to define in specific terms. The mindset of attempting to specifically label types of autism, Grandin said, was detrimental to understanding the disorder.

“The autism scale is very wide,” Grandin said. “At one end of the spectrum you have a guy like Steve Jobs, who was nerdy as a child and would bring snakes into his classrooms and set them loose, but who turned out to be incredibly influential. On the other end of the spectrum is someone who is completely non-verbal, but who can still function in society if given training.”

Grandin touted the importance of hands-on parenting and of physical activity for youths. Grandin said that in today’s society children as well as parents have become too sedentary and warned of the detrimental effects of substituting human interaction with hours in front of a television.

“In my opinion, no child should watch more than an hour of television a day,” said Grandin. “The rest of a child’s day, especially those who have been placed on the autism scale, should be filled interacting with others. That’s how they will learn to interact with others in society.”

Grandin stressed the need for a better understanding of the autistic mind. She stated that autistic children often excel in one area or skill set and that these children must be allowed to work on and develop in these areas so they can one day use them to get a job. Certain autistic children, she said, are visual learners and others are auditory learners, and each is adept at certain tasks.

“The world needs all kinds of minds,” Grandin said. “I was lucky enough to have found my place.”

She warned that children today are too sheltered and often get to adulthood without ever having a job. For all children, especially those with autism, she warned that this style of upbringing is incredibly detrimental.

“For me, I was a very visual learner,” she said. “I loved drawing horses all day. So I was lucky enough to get moved out of a regular education high school and sent to a farm where I spent my days shingling and painting signs for businesses in the local area. Those experiences allowed me to become who I am today.”

The experience was intellectually stimulating for some, like junior Megan Motley.

“I was blown away by her knowledge,” Motley said. “After hearing her, I think that I might try to go to grad school for psychology.”

For others in the crowd, many of whom suffered from autism, hearing Grandin’s speech was a source of inspiration.

“It was amazing,” said local resident Ariene Negron, whose son is autistic.“But Temple has given us hope. She’s given us a reason to believe. I brought my son with me today so he could see her and realize that regardless of what he has, he can be her. I need him to be her.”

February 3, 2013

About Author

Alysha Khan Online Editor


Around the Web
  • Miami Herald
  • UM News
  • HurricaneSports

University of Miami middle linebacker Shaquille Quarterman’s ultimate goal has always been the same: ...

Just one glance at Brad Kaaya throwing passes Tuesday after the University of Miami’s first spring f ...

Yes, the Hurricanes’ uncertainty at quarterback has created some uneasiness, as Mark Richt told me r ...

Senior guards Adrienne Motley and Jessica Thomas sat slumped over on the Watsco Center floor late Mo ...

Spring has sprung for the University of Miami football program. Practice, closed to the public, had ...

Sir James Galway, Distinguished Presidential Scholar, inspires flute students with his artistry and ...

Activist and community organizer Alicia Garza stresses the need for a richness of ideas to help solv ...

UM physicist studies the unexpected consequences of sub-second delays on fast-moving data systems ...

The world renown flautist joins the Frost School of Music ...

A fluid multi-platform exhibition examines the impacts of climate change through art, research, medi ...

The No. 37 Miami women's tennis team will head north to take on Boston College Friday at 1 p.m. ...

Miami head volleyball coach Jose "Keno" Gandara is excited to announce the dates for the 2 ...

Briadam Herrera picked up the third All-America honor of his career Thursday with a fifth-place fini ...

The University of Miami Sports Hall of Fame will hold the 49th Annual UMSHoF Induction Banquet on Tu ...

Football players Braxton Berrios and Demetrius Jackson, soccer player Phallon Tullis-Joyce, cross co ...

TMH Twitter Feed
About TMH

The Miami Hurricane is the student newspaper of the University of Miami in Coral Gables, Fla. The newspaper is edited and produced by undergraduate students at UM and is published weekly on Thursdays during the regular academic year.