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Speaker offers personal perspective on autism

August 08, 2013 12:00AM

Dr. Temple Grandin, perhaps the most accomplished and best-known adult with autism, will talk about her life, her challenges and her successes in a free, public presentation sponsored by Pittsburg State University’s Center for Teaching, Learning and Technology on Wednesday, Aug. 14. The event, made possible by support from the Helen S. Boylan Foundation, will take place at 6 p.m. in Pittsburg’s Memorial Auditorium.

Temple Grandin official portraitGrandin, a professor of animal science at Colorado State University, didn’t speak until she was three-and-a-half years old. In 1950, she was diagnosed with autism and experts advised her parents to institutionalize the child, which they chose not to do.

In her book, “Emergence: Labeled Autistic,” Grandin recounts “groping her way from the far side of darkness.” Although school was difficult, Grandin eventually found a mentor who recognized her interests and abilities.

Grandin eventually built a successful career as one of the few livestock-handling equipment designers in the world. It is estimated she has designed the facilities in which half the cattle in the U.S. are handled. She has consulted for firms such as Burger King, McDonald’s, Swift, and others.

HBO brought Grandin’s story to the screen with the full-length film, “Temple Grandin,” starring Claire Danes. She has been featured on National Public Radio and several television programs, including the BBC special, “The Woman Who Thinks Like a Cow,” ABC’s “Primetime Live,” “The Today Show,” “Larry King Live,” “48 Hours,” and “20/20.” Time magazine included Grandin in its 2010 list of the world’s most influential people and she has been the subject of articles in People, Forbes, US News and World Report, and The New York Times. Bravo did a half-hour show on her life and she was featured in the best-selling book, “Anthropologist from Mars.”

Grandin’s books include “Autism and Asperger's Syndrome,” “Thinking in Pictures,” “Emergence: Labeled Autistic,” “Developing Talents,” “Animals In Translation: Using the Mysteries of Autism to Decode Animal Behavior,” “Unwritten Rules of Social Relationships: Decoding Social Mysteries Through the Unique Perspectives of Autism,” “Animals Make Us Human: Creating the Best Life for Animals,” “The Way I See It: A Personal Look at Autism and Asperger's,” and her latest, “Different ... Not Less.”

In addition to her public presentation on autism in the evening, Grandin will speak to members of the PSU faculty Wednesday morning and to area livestock producers about livestock handling techniques and ways to reduce stress on animals at 1:30 p.m. in the Sharon K. Dean Recital Hall in McCray Hall.

For information, call the Center for Teaching, Learning and Technology at 620-235-4840.

©2013 Pittsburg State University