Autism and animal behavior expert, Dr. Temple Grandin spoke to students, faculty and Knoxville residents about her life experiences and accomplishments while living with Autism at the University of Tennessee on Monday, Oct. 9.
Cox Auditorium was full by 6:15, with an additional 250 persons watching in an overflow room to listen to her lecture.
Grandin’s lecture centered around how different people with different minds and ways of thinking can work together successfully.
Grandin is a huge advocate for Autism, a disorder she has lived with her whole life. She described how she overcame not being able to speak until she was 4-years-old to publicly speaking to people all over the United States. She learned to live with her disorder by learning about the disorder itself and how it affects her specifically. She does not let Autism stop her from working hard and doing what she loves.
“Autism is not everything that I am, my job comes first,” she said.
While sharing her story about how she has lived with Autism and how the Autistic mind works, she explained that people with Autism are bottom-up thinkers a lot of the time. She herself is a visual learner, which she describes as her brain processing everything as pictures or images.
“My mind works like google images, you say one thing and I associate it with something else,” she said.
Grandin is a firm believer in young people learning to work rather than simply learning information in the classroom. She gives the examples of small jobs millennials never experienced such as a paper route job and delivering milk in the neighborhood.
Grandin also gave helpful advice and insight on control and dealing with other individuals while having Autism.
“One thing I had to learn was that you couldn’t tell people they were stupid, even if they were,” she said.
Mia Lucas is a junior at UTK and said she had never heard of Grandin before attending this event.
“…Once I saw the flyer for this event and read her story I knew this was something I couldn’t miss,” she said.
Grandin has reached the lives of thousands of students, parents and individuals living with Autism in America. Many parents of children living with this disorder find Grandin to be an outstanding role model, including one Knoxville mom, Kelley, who preferred to not share her last name.
“As a parent, you always want the best for your children, and I think that Dr. Grandin just gives hope to mothers everywhere that have children struggling with disabilities,” she said.
For more information on Grandin and her story, visit her website.
Edited by Kaitlin Flippo
Featured Image by Arial Starks