International celebrity visits Pittsburg
Temple Grandin emphasis encouragement to students
Mallory White | reporter
The fields of animal agriculture and autism medicine may seem to be unrelated, but an international celebrity who has built her career on the ties between the two visited Pittsburg last week to share her wealth of knowledge.
Temple Grandin, a Colorado State University professor, author, agricultural scientist, activist for autism and a functional autistic herself, visited Pittsburg on Wednesday, Aug. 14.
She has achieved much despite her condition, which left her completely unable to speak until she was 3 years old.
Grandin made three presentations on autism and animal behavior, drawing on her experiences in pioneering treatment methods for autism patients and a method of humanely leading animals to slaughter.
The first speech was presented to Pittsburg State University faculty at Grubbs Hall on the morning of Aug. 14, Teacher Development Day.
Her second speech, delivered later in the day at the Sharon K. Dean Recital Hall of McCray Music Hall, focused on local livestock producers and how they could potentially reduce stress on animals.
The third speech was open to the public at Memorial Auditorium that evening and was focused on the subject of autism.
“I hope that my talk helped the faculty to help some of the kids that are quirky and different to succeed,” Grandin said of her first speech. “I showed two slides at the beginning of my talk. One of them was Albert Einstein … no speech until (he was) 3 years old, would have been labeled as ‘autistic’ today.”
Grandin emphasized on her desire to encourage students to pursue whatever subject, activity or hobby they excel in.
“Build up on the thing that the college student is good at doing or the elementary student is doing,” Grandin said. “If a third grader is good at math, let them do advanced math, don’t hold them back.
“I think it’s super important to get kids good at things that they’re good at doing. There’s too much emphasis on disability and not enough emphasis on the thing the person can do.”
Grandin also spoke about the importance of training children to possess quality work skills as well as the positive influence a mentor can provide.
“Mentors are extremely important,” she said. “We need to start getting kids turned on when they’re 12 or 13 years old. I’m a big believer in teaching kids work skills. We need to be finding paper route replacements; we need to be teaching children the discipline of work.”
These and more of Grandin’s opinions and philosophies can be found in any of the various books she has written.
Her works include: “Autism and Asperger’s Syndrome,” “Thinking in Pictures,” “Animals in Translation: Using the Mysteries of Autism to Decode Animal Behavior,” “Animals Make Us Human: Creating the Best Life for Animals,” and her latest, “Different … Not Less.”