Temple Grandin was diagnosed with autism when she was 2 years old. She attended a structured nursery school which she feels helped her early in life. When talking about her early life and her recommendations, Temple Grandin said:
- A good teacher is gently insistent
- Early intervention is essential
- Children should have a minimum of 20 hours weekly of one to one teaching
She went on to talk about the different sensory issues and how these systems can be affected in every day life, and especially in learning. Temple said "my mind works like Google for Images." This is part of the reason she has been so successful in her line of work. She continued to say:
- All my thinking uses specific examples to create concepts
- It is bottom up thinking and not top down thinking
- I learn ALL concepts using specific examples
Many people with autism have difficulties with generalization of skills. Temple said for her the more experiences she would have the more information she could put in her database (in her head) and the more she could make those generalizations. She explained "It is memorization and scripting, but as more information is memorized, it can be assembled into more and more categories which will help thinking to become more flexible.
It was a great presentation, and I was glad I was able to go. I think one of the things that surprised me and will help me have more empathy for some of the children I work with is she said "Fear is the main emotion in autism. My amygdala (fear center) is three times larger." I don't think that many people understand this fact, we don't understand why some kids react the way they do. Their fear may be 3 times larger than another child their age. We need to help them feel safe so that they can experience things and learn without that added stress. This is one of the reasons that Temple invented the squeeze machine. This helped her to be able to control the deep pressure that she needed and "helped reduce anxiety and panic attacks."
Temple Grandin has many books available, and there is also a movie that came out in 2010.
Here is a list of her books
Here is the DVD
Utah P.L.A.Y. Project Home Consultant
Early Childhood Autism Intervention