Autism Awareness: Seeing in pictures

I was forwarded an article about Temple Grandin, an associate professor of animal science at Colorado State University.

Grandin has designed one-third of all livestock facilities in the U.S. She also has autism.

Because April is Autism Awareness Month, and because I didn’t blog about it as much as I’d have liked, I wanted to share some of Grandin’s story.

Grandin said she lives by associating words with her “library of experiences.” She communicates in the only way she knows how to and suggests that, rather than teach someone not to do something “wrong” by saying so, show them how to do something good.

I love Grandin’s term, “library of experiences.” Living in the abstract is something society often chokes on. This is something refreshing and simple.

For example, when Grandin hears the word “love,” it is not an abstract thought but a concrete image. Love is a song, a movie scene or a fond memory. Love is not some superimposed cloud in the sky everyone wants but few can reach.

Grandin’s work is to design more humane facilities for animals at ranches and slaughterhouses. Her research over the past years has added to her knowledge and experience.

She said, “I get great satisfaction when a rancher tells me that my corral design helps cattle move through it quietly and easily. When cattle stay calm, it means they are not scared. And that makes me feel I’ve accomplished something important.”

It is always my hope that people will never categorize others based on their “inabilities,” but rather what they have done as people, as human beings. Grandin is a remarkable person.

People first, criticism later. To read more of her story, follow this link.

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Filed under Autism, Autism Awareness Month, Colorado State University, Temple Grandin

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