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The Autism Spectrum

MAKERS Moment

The Autism Spectrum

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Autism activist Temple Grandin talks about the wide autism spectrum and what she believes causes it.

Temple's Biography

Non-verbal:Until she was two and a half years old, she was non-verbal. "[I] would just sit and rock. Dribble sand through my hands."
Mother's social skills lessons:"[My mother would] have me dress up in my Sunday best and greet [her] dinner party guests and then serve them hors d'oeuvres, so I learned how to shake hands."
Horse nut:At 14 went to a boarding school where she could take care of horses and love doing it.
10 minutes early or late:"I always tend to be 10 minutes early."

Temple Grandin is world-famous for using insights gained from her autism to revolutionize the livestock industry. A professor at Colorado State for more than 20 years, Grandin is a celebrated speaker who lectures internationally on autism and livestock handling.
 
Diagnosed with autism as a child, which was thought to be a form of brain damage at the time, Grandin only began speaking at the age of four following extensive speech therapy. Still, Grandin went on to academic success, earning a degree in psychology from Franklin Pierce College in 1970, followed by a master's degree in animal science from Arizona State University and a doctoral degree in animal science from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.
 
An expert on animal behavior, Grandin has designed humane handling systems for half the cattle-processing facilities in the U.S. and consults with the meat industry to develop animal welfare guidelines. In 2010, Time Magazine listed Grandin as one of its most Important People of the Year.
 
Not only has Grandin's work on the humane treatment of animals made her revered in the animals rights world, but her books about her life as an autistic person have increased the world's understanding of the condition.

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