Tuesday, May 10th, 2016
8:00 – 10:00 PM
California has the highest number of individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorders in the United States. (scdd.ca.gov/res/docs) Scientists in California have also discovered clusters of autism, largely in the Los Angeles and San Francisco areas, where children are twice as likely to have autism as children in surrounding areas. (scientificamerican.com)
These alarming facts take on a whole new ‘feel’, however, once Temple Grandin enters the picture! Although she did not speak until she was almost four years old and communicated her frustration by screaming, peeping, and humming, today she is the most accomplished and well-known adult with autism in the world. A college professor, inventor, best-selling author, and world-renowned autism spokesperson, Grandin has made it clear that if a cure for autism were to be found…she would choose to stay just the way she is!
“I like the really logical way that I think…I’m totally logical. In fact, it kind of blows my mind how irrational human beings are. I have, however, read enough to know that there are many parents, and yes, professionals too, who believe that ‘once autistic, always autistic’. This dictum has meant sad and sorry lives for many children diagnosed, as I was in early life, as autistic. To these people, it is incomprehensible that the characteristics of autism can be modified and controlled, but…I am living proof that they can.”
As the number of children diagnosed with autism continues to rise nationally, Grandin sees how “rigid academic and social expectations could wind up stifling a mind that – while it might struggle to conjugate a verb – could one day take us to distant stars.”
Grandin says that “Steve Jobs was probably mildly on the autistic spectrum. Basically, you’ve probably known people who were geeky and socially awkward but very smart. When does ‘geeks’ and ‘nerds’ become autism? That’s a gray area. Half the people in Silicon Valley probably have autism. If you totally got rid of autism, you’d have nobody to fix your computer in the future.”
Grandin tells the story of “groping her way from the far side of darkness” in her book, Emergence: Labeled Autistic, a book that stunned the world because, until its publication, most professionals and parents assumed that an autism diagnosis was virtually a death sentence to achievement and a productive life.
Proving the fallacy of such dire predictions, Temple Grandin was named one of Time Magazine's 100 Most Influential People in 2011. Rick Stengel, Time Managing Editor, states that: “The Time 100 is not a list of the most powerful people in the world; it’s not a list of the smartest people in the world; it’s a list of the most influential people in the world. They’re scientists, they’re thinkers, they’re philosophers, they’re leaders, they’re icons, they’re artists, they’re visionaries - people who are using their ideas, their visions, their actions to transform the world.”
Named in the “Hero” category of Time’s 100….Temple Grandin is a captivating and inspiring speaker. Don’t miss the opportunity to see and hear her in-person when she appears at the Granada Theatre on May 10th.