Today our expert guest is Dr. Temple Grandin, who is a prominent author and speaker on both autism and animal behavior. In 2010, Time named her one of the 100 most influential people, under the “Heroes” category. Her life story was also adapted into the Emmy award-winning HBO movie Temple Grandin.

The World Needs ALL Kinds of Minds

“I’m interested in helping individuals be everything they can be.” –Temple Grandin

1 in 68 U.S. children has been identified with an autism spectrum disorder (ASD).

ASD is a very broad label that most people don’t understand very well, and that does a disservice to those diagnosed. This one label can apply to a Silicon Valley computer programmer, an artist, a college professor, or someone unable to dress themselves… and that’s a real problem.

In Dr. Grandin’s book, The Autistic Brain, she attempts to expand that label and uses neuroimaging to illustrate the different ways that people think:

  • The artistic, visual mind (like Dr. Grandin)
  • The mathematical, pattern-oriented mind
  • The word-oriented, verbal mind

Dr. Grandin’s TED Lecture, “The World Needs ALL Kinds of Minds,” shares her unique ability to “think in pictures,” and how that ability helps her solve problems differently. In the process, she makes the case that the world needs people on the autism spectrum: visual thinkers, pattern thinkers, verbal thinkers, and all kinds of smart geeky kids.

A caring mother, good teachers, and great mentors offered Dr. Grandin opportunities to learn valuable skills and develop her visual mind. Unfortunately, many individuals on the spectrum aren’t given these opportunities, so Dr. Grandin continues to advocate for better education that focuses on a child’s strengths and encourages their potential contributions.

The Biggest Helping: Today’s Most Important Takeaway

“Take a kid’s strengths, build on that strength, and turn it into a career that the individual is going to enjoy as an adult … I just want to see kids that are different get out and become everything that they can be, and have a satisfying career.”

 

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