Temple Grandin

Watch: Temple Grandin on Helping Kids with Autism to Succeed

Click here to watch on YouTube.


Short video that tells the story of autistic teen Shane and offers some tips for success from Dr. Temple Grandin.


Watch: Temple Grandin Talks Autism and Scouting

"If I can get my PhD, you can get your eagle scout!"


Dr. Temple Grandin talks about how autistic kids and scouting.  She talks about how kids with autism and Asperger's syndrome can learn from scouting, the benefits they can bring to a troop, and the kinds of adaptations that will make activities more welcoming for them.  Highly recommended for parents, troop leaders, and others who work with groups that may include autistic kids (church and youth group leaders, for example). 

Go here to watch a great video about an autistic scout.


Tonight: Temple Grandin on Animal Planet's Saved

This episode will be on at 8 pm tonight.


If you have access to the Animal Planet channel, I strongly recommend you watch or record tonight's episode of Saved, which features Dr. Temple Grandin.  Although I haven't seen the whole episode, the connection between Dr. Grandin's work with cattle and her autism is a fascinating topic.  Watching her in the clip above is, as always, inspiring.

More-- much more-- about Dr. Grandin here.


Giving Temple Grandin a Kim Peek Award is Weird

This is a picture of me reading that Temple Grandin
is receiving
the Peek Award for Disability in Media.


So my head exploded this morning.  Fortunately I was able to catch a picture of it.

See, somebody has created "the Peek Award for Disability in Media."  It's named after Kim Peek, the man that the movie Rain Man is based on.

And the first recipient will be Temple Grandin.

Here's the thing:

Kim Peek did not have autism. 


Rain Man is a very nice movie made by very well-intended people.  It did three very good things for people with autism:  it made people aware that we exist, it taught them that we can have extraordinary skills, and it showed them that we are people who are capable of loving and being loved. 

Kim Peek was a cool guy and did a lot to increase awareness of the capabilities of people who have developmental disabilities.  But Raymond Babbit, the character Dustin Hoffman played so memorably, is based on someone who probably had FG Syndrome, not autism.  And for all it did to convey positive attitudes about autistic people, Rain Man also conveyed a lot of misinformation.

Most people with autism do not have savant skills, and Rain Man created a perception that we do.  Also, the fact that Raymond's savant skills appear to be almost magical has created a misperception of what savants are.

I have never met an autistic person who talked or acted very much like Dustin Hoffman does in that movie.  But I've met a lot of people who make Judge Wapner jokes when I talk about autism.  The movie made us easier to ridicule, too, and for things that aren't especially typical of us.

Anyway, I think it's a great idea to create an award to honor Kim Peek.  But I think that award should be based on what the man actually did, not the way he was shown in the movie. 

And it should emphasize that he did not actually have autism.  That he shows what people with other developmental disabilities can do.  They need heroes, too.  He's not ours.  We need to stop co-opting him.

Making the world's most famous autistic person the first recipient of this award continues to perpetuate the myth that Kim Peek had autism and that Rain Man is an accurate picture of actual autistic people.

Making people think that Temple Grandin and Kim Peek are the same is a bad idea.  They are both people with developmental disabilities who made the world better by being the subjects of popular movies.  But Dr. Grandin also made the world better by doing things herself. And that is what she should be honored for.


Watch: Temple Grandin Talks About Teaching Social Skills in Real Situations

Temple Grandon talks about social skills.


Maine Public Broadcasting has created a series of short web videos to support a special program they are showing next month called Making Our Way: Autism.  The show itself sounds like a mixed bag-- great to include Dr. Grandin and other adults with autism, horrible to promote the idea that autism will be curable. But the little videos are great.

In this one, Dr. Temple Grandin talks about the importance of teaching socials skills in real-world situations.


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