Dr. Temple Grandin, Professor of Animal Science at Colorado State University, has the ability to think in pictures much like the cows for whom she designs more humane cattle facilities. Her holding pens are used all over the world, and her papers on animal behaviors help livestock owners reduce the stress of these animals. She has written several books about animal behaviors, including “Animals Make Us Human,” “Thinking in Pictures,” “Livestock Handling and Transport,” and “Genetics and the Behavior of Domestic Animals.” Despite being born with autism and living with the challenges that go along with the brain disorder, Dr. Grandin is a remarkable example of someone who has overcome her obstacles. She believes that the early interactions she had with her family, caregivers, and teachers helped her develop her strengths. Dr. Grandin’s Web site includes information about her life, works, and a Q&A about living with autism.
Autism causes difficulties in social interaction and communication, but is also associated with strengths in areas such as music, math, and art. On her site and in her interviews, Dr. Grandin cites early intervention and attention as the key to open doors for children with autism. Engage autistic children with the world around them, teach them how their brains work and what their strengths are, and they’ll have a better chance of learning how to adapt socially and academically. By providing them examples of successful people like Dr. Grandin, we empower students to seek their own success stories.
Neuroscience & the Classroom, unit 4, “Different Minds, Different Learners,” section 5, What teachers can do, provides techniques teachers can use to help students decrease their stress and increase attention in the classroom. Go to the video page for section 4 and hear Dr. Stephen Shore and Dr. Temple Grandin talkabout their abilities as individuals with autism.
Dr. Grandin is also featured in The Brain: Teaching Modules, module 29, “Autism.” This program provides both a historical perspective of autism and current beliefs about why autism occurs.
The World of Abnormal Psychology, program 11, “Behavior Disorders of Childhood,” looks at challenges and solutions for families who have children with behavior disorders. Autism is discussed specifically at 42:06.