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Temple Grandin

Discussion in 'Random Ramblings' started by AhBee01, Aug 31, 2010.

  1. AhBee01

    AhBee01 Songster

    Nov 7, 2007
    yo. ohio
    I was lucky enough to attend an autism clinic where
    Temple Grandin was the speaker, and meet her. The book about her life was made into a made for TV movie and won the Emmy Sunday!(5 emmys!, that is) How cool is that. What a remarkable woman she is, and all she has done to over come her Autism, and help so many people in the process.
    She also developed a more humane practice for slaughtering animals, as she was raised and later went and worked on her farm!
    She really helped me to understand what it was like to have Autism and with that I was able to better work with the kids I was an aide for. After hearing her speak it all seemed to make sense.
    Back then I had never heard of the disorder till I started working as a teacher's aide. I was so blessed to be able to hear her speak, and was grateful for the staff that made sure we (the aides) were included in the conference, after all we work so closely with the kids, and took care of most of their daily needs. I miss working with the kids, I have seen a few as I now drive bus, most of the children have graduated or are in the last years of the work program our school offers! I'm so happy for her!
    Here is a link!


  2. SallyF

    SallyF Songster

    Jul 5, 2009
    Middle Tennessee
    Her books and articles are interesting reads. She's an inspiring person.
  3. sourland

    sourland Broody Magician Premium Member

    May 3, 2009
    New Jersey
    Her book should be a must read for everyone. Very insightful information about autism.
  4. welsummerchicks

    welsummerchicks Songster

    Jul 26, 2010
    Temple Grandin is very unusual even for an autistic person. I heard some parents of autistic kids get very angry at the idea that Grandin was called 'representative' of autistic people as her issues are not the same as someone more severely autistic.

    The person I saw get the most upset had a child who was very, very affected by autism and they had a terrible time keeping him safe, keeping him from hurting himself, even just basically controlling him and they were having to face putting him in a residential facility that she did not like at all. I was surprised at her reaction at first but simply learned this disorder can make parents feel very, very guilty, grieving for long periods of time, sad, and it can be painful to see someone else who is not as severely affected, it can make them grieve even more, or even, feel they did something wrong.

    Of course in her case, someone made a comment to her like, 'How come your son isn't like Temple Grandin?' which was what sent her into tears.

    A lot of people would say Grandin was 'on the autistic spectrum', or had 'mild autism', because she can speak and communicate so well. Others would say she had Asperger's syndrome, which some people call 'High Functioning Autism'. The reason they try to call it 'something else' is because for so many autistic people, communication is so limited or not at all. So some experts question if it really is exactly the same condition. Myself, I don't have that problem as I feel autism like many disorders can vary from person to person. I wouldn't be surprised if one autistic person has less trouble communicating than another, if the main 3 hallmark issues were there I would not be fussing over calling it something else. Most developmental issues can be 'mild' or 'severe' or anything in between and each person is unique so that doesn't bother me. I'm not sure 'Asperger's syndrome' will continue to be used or if they will just diagnose autism with various descriptive modifers.

    It used to be said that about 50% of autistic people never gain any meaningful speech. I am not sure that is still true today as guidelines about diagnosing autism have changed and widened some, but some autistic people never do get meaningful speech, I worked with some people like that.

    I am not sure that if they could speak, they would describe their experience exactly the way Temple Grandin does. I think each person's experience of it is a little different. And many people with autism have multiple problems. For example one autistic child I worked with was blind, another was psychotic.

    The boy who was psychotic and autistic, he kept getting rediagnosed, no one could really decide exactly what to diagnose him with. There are some really difficult areas re diagnosing people with multiple issues, but also his symptoms changed when he hit his teenage years.

    Autism, Asperger's, 'high functioning autism', 'mild autism', whatever it gets called, it is a real challenge for the person as well as those around them. Just because it might be seen as 'more mild' by some, it's still a tough row to hoe.

    Temple Grandin has made a good life for herself and I think that in her way she is happy. She has discussed all that very frankly. I don't think she has a need for a close relationship, she has stated many times in interviews she just doesn't feel any need for that. I think each person has to be happy in their own way. Maybe for an autistic person that might not be just what another person would think is right, but is right for them.
    Last edited: Aug 31, 2010
  5. AhBee01

    AhBee01 Songster

    Nov 7, 2007
    yo. ohio
    I know that some children if worked with can gain meaningful speech or should we say communication, if worked with and very regimented, I'm not saying every child, But if Helen Keller can learn to communicate other children with this can too. One of the biggest problems is getting the diagnosis at a very young age. A lot of the time no one knows what is wrong, let alone how to help.
    I have seen a child that was not worked with much at home, Mom had 2 other children, and needed to keep all 3 safe. He ate with his hands, almost animal like(not saying that to be mean just trying to paint a picture here) He did not talk, movement drove him to have fits and become aggressive. We found he had a love for food so we used it to our advantage. So every day with his lunch the teacher sat him down at a table and made him a picture book with Velcro covered pictures of things he was eating or doing. So he would have to build a sentence with his pictures,it would say, I want..... and he would fill in the blank, ex hot dog. So he was given a bite of hot dog.
    I want apple sauce. He would point to each word/ picture and while she read it out loud. He would then get a bite of what he asked for. He would have food choices. He learned quickly how to point and choose a food to take a bite with. He learned to use a fork,a spoon and napkin. Then one day he walked up to the teacher and placed his hands very gently on her shoulders, which he never did unless he was gonna grab you and bite you! He whispered to her cookie, i want cookie! We about fell over, it was so amazing. He didn't say it plain as day, but you could tell what he was asking for. He was also given some meds to keep him calm, and for other reasons but with everyone on the same page and everyone working with him, he was able to use those picture boards to ask for things for the first time in his life. I don't know where or how much he progressed because I had to leave the job for medical reasons, but I went in for a visit the next year, and he was eating in the lunch room with the other kids, using the proper utensils with the right food, and not stealing the other kids food!
    If you have a child like this he would need your undivided attention, and some families just can't take care of it all and spend all the time and energy it takes to get them to be verbal, Or to work with them non stop to be able to handle touches, or movement. It would be very hard to have to deal with this, I give the parents credit for sticking with it, and fighting for their child. Yes, every child is different that is why it is so hard, and people expect every child to do what this one has done. What works with one doesn't work with the other child. That's another reason it is so hard to work with the kids, it takes lots of time to find out what works and what doesn't. It must be exhausting.
    I only know what I have had to deal with. I only know the kids I dealt with. I have seen things work, and things fail. I just pray they find a way to crack this disease and everyone can get the help they need for their babies.
    To me it doesn't matter if this woman was only a little autistic, we never walked in her shoes, I still know she had a lot of hurdles to jump to get to a life she is comfortable in.
    She is considered the voice because she spoke out, and tried to explain what it was like, and people finally listened, I think she has helped a lot of people understand what autism is.
  6. BarkerChickens

    BarkerChickens Microbrewing Chickenologist

    Nov 25, 2007
    High Desert, CA
    Welsummerchicks...she is representative of autistic people. Just not all autistic people have the opportunity to overcome the neurological disorder as she has. [​IMG] (please take this in a sweet voice...I am not trying to sound argumentative. Typing just doesn't express the voice well). [​IMG]

    AhBee01...you are exactly right. Being a neurological disorder and not retardation, the brain can be retrained. The problem lies in that most doctors do not know how to work with the autistic brain. My brother is/was severely autistic..classic stemming, walking in toes, echolaic..clearly in his own world. The first batch of doctors don't my mom he needed to be in an institution because he was severely autistic. My mom happened to come across an article related to working with autistic people to learn to overcome some of the disability. My brother saw this doctor for years and slowly overcame the disabilities. He is autistic and will always be autistic as Temple Grandin is as well. But, the beauty is that autism affects a portion of the brain...not all of it. So, to train the other part of hte brain to learn how to do certain tasks, builds neurons, thus allows the individual to overcome some of the disabilities that they had previously. My brother is 24 and has been in college off and on since 16 years old. (no he is not a savant). He has finally decided what he wants to go to school for after years of changing his major...biochemistry (has stuck to this one for a while, so we expect it to be his final decision). He knows that he wants to go for a PhD. This makes most sense since he, as Temple Grandin, do better in research environments where they can focus on their work. At the moment, my brother wants to go for graduate work in neurological sciences where he can work in autism research. He figures what better person to do research on autism than an austistic person, diagnosed with severe autism (my brother couldn't communicate beyond echolalia), who understands a) what it is like in the mind of a autistic and b) what worked for him to get to where he is now. He went from not being allowed in school, being told he should be institutionalized by a panel of "experts" to being in college. Autism is a very disabling disorder, but with more research and more doctors familiar with the retraining of the neurological pathways, many more will be able to live a normal life with autism. Today, my brother makes a conscious effort to keep eye contact when talking, he has to have a list written down since he can't process a list of tasks well, but someday, he will be very successful, married and have a wonderful family of his own. [​IMG]
    Last edited: Aug 31, 2010
  7. redhen

    redhen Kiss My Grits... Premium Member

    May 19, 2008
    Western MA
    Quote:I hope your brother finds all the happiness that he needs in life.. [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG]

  8. CityChicker

    CityChicker Songster

    Mar 21, 2009
    I absolutely *loved* this film. I started a thread about it several months ago! I was thrilled to see it win so many awards. Anyone that is involved in Animal Science, Poultry Science, or almost anything animal related should see it. The film is so good on so many levels. Even if someone has no interest in autism, SEE IT. You will not be disappointed. She is so inspiring. [​IMG]
  9. welsummerchicks

    welsummerchicks Songster

    Jul 26, 2010
    You are right that Temple Grandin was really the first person to get to a wide audience and try to teach them how she felt. Her efforts in that area have been invaluable. In that sense she represents all autistic people. In the sense of being severely disabled as an adult, she is not and so is unique and very lucky.

    It is so frustrating sometimes and this is so needed, as many people just do not seem to want to understand autistic people or their families. A lady told me her son was getting excited in the store once and some lady came up and balled her out for not 'disciplining' her son and used some pretty bad words. I think her son was about 11 at the time. The woman said she needed to DISCIPLINE him in other words slap him and scream at him, and just make him pay attention, he is spoiled, she thought that was the whole solution. The woman tried to explain, it does no good to scream and slap him that just makes him worse and he has not the slightest idea what he is being screamed at for, he just does not learn in that fashion. He just starts screaming himself and getting more upset. Further, the woman told me that if her son so much as makes a peep in public, invariably SOMEONE will feel the need to come up to her and criticize her parenting skills. Why not come up and offer to HELP instead? Or just mind one's own business and realize everyone is doing the best they can.

    I wish everyone who thinks it is so easy would see the Temple Grandin film, at the very least.

    My favorite youngster was very severely affected. Even with very early intervention and many efforts and years of training, he was very difficult to control and no meaningful speech, the book 'A Place for Noah' talks about some of those issues, especially finding a place for them to even live as adults. I think that is every parent's fear that their child will wind up being very severely affected, and no one can predict their future. Your brother is very lucky.

    I think the most important thing is to just keep working at it. Some are just mildly affected, most likely that is the majority. Many children look very disabled at certain young ages and then surprise everyone by gaining a great deal and doing well. Some get worse at adolescence and then improve amazingly, and some like my friend...well...the main thing there is acceptance.

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