Saturday, July 6, 2013

Temple Grandin

Temple Grandin is one of the world’s most accomplished and well-known adults with autism. She is a professor at Colorado State University and the author of several best-selling books, which have sold more than a million copies. The HBO movie based on her life, starring Claire Danes, received seven Emmy Awards. Her latest book is The Autistic Brain: Thinking Across the Spectrum.

From Grandin's Q & A with Cathy Burke at Publishers Weekly:

You’ve volunteered for more than a half-dozen brain scans—tests you refer to as the “Journey to the Center of My Mind.” What made you want to take those journeys?

I’m a scientist! The technology is there to dissect what looks like aircraft cables in the brain. For example, when two roads cross each other, are they connected, or does one pass over the other? The technology makes it possible with a computer to see that. So you can look at my circuit and say what you see. For example, my brain “bundles” have much less bandwidth, and then you understand how it is that I have difficulties in getting words out. We will be able to do this technology in hospitals, and within the next 10 years, they may have it for brain injuries. But it’s like Galileo getting a telescope: It’s going to take research to use this technology.

You’ve written books about autism and lecture on the subject. Why was it important to you to write this book?

I was very interested in different kinds of thinking. When I was younger, I thought everybody thought in pictures! And the sensory problem for autistics is difficult to imagine. It is my number one issue because some autistics can‘t function because of them.

You write that autism is a part of who you are, but that you won’t let it define you. How can parents and educators guide those with autism to this kind of self-discovery?

Autism is a very big spectrum. At one end, you get...[read on]
--Marshal Zeringue