Temple Grandin, best-selling author and internationally acclaimed speaker, is bringing her insider perspective on autism to NIU. She’ll present “Developing Individuals Who Have Different Kinds of Minds,”
at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, Dec. 6, in the Holmes Student Center. The free event is open to the public. Seating is first come, first served.
“Dr. Grandin embodies the ideals of the allied health professions in that she shows us that all minds are worthy of knowledge, respect and compassion. She shows us that excellence comes from all kinds of individuals no matter their diagnosis, experience or origins,” said Makenna Moscinski, first-year graduate student at NIU. Moscinski is a member of the NIU Graduate Colloquium Committee who is co-sponsoring the event along with the School of Allied Health and Communicative Disorders.
Moscinski adds, Grandin’s presentation isn’t just for health professionals.
“Her discussion on different kinds of minds and how they relate to autism will provide insights that will promote inclusion and understanding in our world,” Moscinski said. “This compassion is invaluable in paving the way for an education and therapeutic revolution.”
According to her website, Grandin, who is on the autism spectrum, benefited from early intervention and she was mainstreamed into normal kindergarten. Teasing and bullying plagued her in school, but she turned to friends who shared her interests in horses, electronics and model rockets. A science teacher’s mentoring encouraged her to become a scientist, giving her a reason to study.
Grandin, who holds a Ph.D. degree in animal sciences, is the author of several best-selling books on autism and animal behavior. She wrote, “The Autistic Brain: Thinking Across the Spectrum,” that addresses scientific advances in understanding autism. As the number of children diagnosed with autism rises, she is sharing her message about “differently abled brains” and how rigid expectations could stifle a mind that might struggle in one area but excel in another.
“One of the problems today is for a kid to get any special services in school, they have to have a label. The problem with autism is you’ve got a spectrum that ranges from Einstein to someone with no language and intellectual disability,” Grandin wrote.
Caylee Jessen, second-year graduate student in NIU’s Speech-Language Pathology program and colloquium committee member, expects Grandin’s presentation to be inspiring.
“It will show people that autism does not hold you back, but instead allows you to see the world through a different lens,” Jessen said.
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