Temple Grandin is a hero in the autism community, and for good reason. At 65 years of age, she is one of the world’s most accomplished and well-known adults with autism. She grew up in an era when children with autism were shunned while their mothers were blamed. But Temple’s mother would have none of it; she fought to get her daughter help, which often meant pioneering new forms of treatment for the mostly unknown disorder.
Thanks to the efforts of many, including caring, dedicated, and creative teachers, Temple came out of her shell. Today Dr. Grandin is a Professor of Animal Science at Colorado State University and has designed equipment used in nearly half of all cattle processing facilities in North America, leading to significant improvements in the treatment of animals. This and other aspects of Temple’s life story were beautifully portrayed in an HBO movie starring Claire Danes that received seven Emmy awards.
In her spare time, Dr. Grandin is also an expert in the treatment of autism and the author of several best-selling books whose combined sales exceed one million copies. Dr. Grandin’s latest book, The Autistic Brain: Thinking Across the Spectrum, was released last week. Current estimates suggest that anywhere from 1 in 88 to 1 in 50 children now falls on the autism spectrum. Those with autistic loved ones can attest that these alarming statistics are not the result of psychologists gone wild. No, the increase is real, and as a culture we need to get ahead of it. Pastors and church leaders also need to be aware of this trend, because some Christians with autistic children find it very difficult to even attend church, leaving them on the outskirts of their congregation’s social life.
But the great news is that autism is treatable, that remarkable gains are possible–but early intervention and tapping into the unique strengths of children on the spectrum is crucial. This book can help you understand autism, and help your autistic loves ones reach their God-given potential. Having heard Dr. Grandin lecture on this topic, and being familiar with her life story, and having had a chance to peruse her new book, I strongly recommend The Autistic Brain to anyone with a child or teen with autism.
For those in the southern California area: Dr. Grandin will be giving a lecture on May 21 on the campus of the University of California at Riverside. The lecture is scheduled for 7 PM in room 302 of the Highlander Union Building. The talk is free and open to the public, with parking available in Parking Lot 1 to non-permit holders for $5. Doors will open at 6 p.m.