Dr Temple Grandin: Focus on strengths rather than deficits in children with autism

When Temple Grandin says you must train children on the autistic spectrum just as you’d train someone who doesn’t know how to behave in a foreign country, she knows what she’s talking about.

Being diagnosed with autism herself, Grandin didn’t speak until she was four — she has described her early childhood experience as “groping her way from the far side of darkness”. But there were shining lights in this darkness, especially her mother, who got her “really good education and treatment” when Grandin was little more than a toddler.

“She had a very good sense of how to stretch me,” Grandin tells me in the course of a phone interview from Colorado — she currently works as a professor of Animal Sciences at Colorado State University. “My mother insisted I learn manners. A standard of behaviour was expected. When I had a tantrum, I was put in my room. When I calmed down, my mother would say ‘you can join the family now’ and there was a consequence — no TV that night. When I made a mistake, instead of screaming ‘no’, she would give an instruction.”

Read Full Item
4th August 2017
Irish Examiner