Dr. Temple Grandin-My biggest takeaways from her keynote speech

I got to meet Temple!!! 

Temple Grandin at the US Autism Association keynote address 

Getting the chance to watch Dr. Temple Grandin talk has been a career long dream of mine!

I ran into Dr. Grandin at the airport!!!

When I started working with children with autism back in 1997, her book “Thinking in Pictures” was one of my first introductions to autism.  

Dr. Grandin was one of the first individuals with autism who could articulate what life is like for people on the autism spectrum. Parents and professionals both clamored for her knowledge, expertise and valuable insight. 

Here is a link to the first book I read…

https://www.amazon.com/Thinking-Pictures-Expanded-Life-Autism/dp/0307275655

Temple Grandin’s book 

I just had the amazing opportunity to hear her speak at the US Autism Association! 

Here are the major takeaways I had from her keynote speech: 

  • Limit screen time for children with autism to less than 1 hour per day. She noted that many of the children who could succeed in computer science are sucked in to video games and no longer can access their full potential due to their addiction
  • Parents need to “start letting go”-foster independence from a young age. She likened this to the adult cow who still wants to nurse from the mama cow. She said we need to “wean our children” so they are not dependent on us
  • “don’t over-protect”the child with autism
  • Allow children a multitude of hands on experiences because true learning takes place with hands on experiences not through screens
  • Teach young children how to “wait” and how to “take turns” and use board games as a way to teach these skills
  • Having real jobs are important for young adults with autism starting at age 13 (or so). 
  • Don’t get hung up on the label of autism
  • Focus on the strengths of the child not the deficits-build upon a child’s special interest which could end up leading to a valuable career one day. As an example, a child who is interested in pipes can become a plumber. 
  • Don’t make kids with autism do “baby math” if they excel in math. Allow the child to excel in the area they are gifted in
  • Encourage friendships through shared experiences such as cub scouts, school clubs etc. A shared interest will help build the friendship 
  • There is NO need to disclose autism diagnosis for milder cases due to some prejudice surrounding autism. Instead, tell what you need “those lights give me a headache”
  • Stretch students to grow and don’t overprotect them!
  • Allow for choices

If you were at the conference or have learned from Dr. Grandin yourself, please share what your biggest takeaways are in the comments! 

Here is a link to a youtube video of her (not from the conference I went to). https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MWePrOuSeSY

8 thoughts on “Dr. Temple Grandin-My biggest takeaways from her keynote speech

    1. spedadvisor

      No problem Erin!
      She is really fascinating and I cuts right to the heart of the matter so well regarding autism. Check out the Youtube link when you get a chance!

      Reply
  1. Kristel Olsen

    Sarah, I am so excited that you got to meet Temple Grandin! Thank you so much for sharing your key take-aways. My favorite one is the idea of using board games as a way to encourage patience and turn taking. It also encourages a child to interact with someone they might not otherwise have done!

    Reply
    1. spedadvisor

      Kristel! Thanks for the feedback! She has a way of communicating very clearly about autism and I am so glad to share what I learned. Yes boardgames are such a great and easy way to facilitate this learning!

      Reply
  2. Sarah

    My husband and I met her at a forum a few years back. She gave us hope.
    You reminded me about hope by writing about your experience meeting her. Both my autistic sons have been struggling lately and it’s been hard to see. Thank you for this post.

    Reply
    1. spedadvisor

      Thanks Sarah for the positive feedback. After meeting her I felt so hopeful as well and couldn’t wait to share everything with my college students. I want to re-read her books because her message is so powerful!

      Reply
    2. spedadvisor Post author

      Thank you for your comments. I am sorry I may have missed them in the past. I loved meeting Dr. Temple Grandin and think about it often. How are your sons doing?

      Reply

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