Thursday, October 21, 2010

Temple Grandin - Living Proof of Early Intervention!

I overuse the word amazing.  I should save that word, I should check for alternate choices.  Because the word amazing should be saved for experiences like I had last night.

Temple Grandin was speaking at Century College in White Bear Lake last night.  It was free.  My friend Christina and I decided we'd better go early in case it was mobbed, and was it ever!  Almost an hour before she was scheduled to speak, the place was packed with people.  The place was buzzing with anticipation.  About a half hour before the lecture they started filling rooms with people to watch it on closed circuit monitors.  They weren't even letting folks into the main room anymore, it was beyond standing room only.

She was selling and signing her books both before and after her lecture, and Christina and I were first in line to get ours' autographed.  When she signed my book, she asked me if I was a parent or educator, and I said I was a parent.  She asked me how old my children were and how they were doing, and of course I didn't have the wherewithall or nerve to talk about Fragile X, like perhaps I should have.  Like other mothers of Fragile X kids would have.  I wonder if she's heard of it.  I just said my boys were 5, and they were doing well, starting to talk more and more.  Then that was it, the line moved on.

She was so motivating.  It's so uplifting to see someone who had all the earmarks of severe autism as a child grow and blossom into a public speaker, writer, and just a hugely successful, honored, and loved person.  She is living proof of early intervention.  She is living proof that, with enough gentle encouragement even the most nonsocial, fixating, stimming autistic kid can grow to be a productive person!  Possibly one beyond our wildest dreams.

She's a success story in the autism world.  I'm in awe of her. 

You can still see a tiny bit of the autism characteristics in her.  You can see that socializing and mingling doesn't come naturally to her.  She's still working hard to fit into society.

After her lecture there was a question and answer period.  I didn't even try to ask a question, I guess I'm not all that social and outgoing either.  Besides, what I wanted to ask would have been way too personal for her, I think, and I would have been too embarrassed to ask it.

What I want to know is, is she happy?  Does she like her life?  Does she have family and friends?  Is she surrounded and cared for by people who love her, who she loves back?

I wonder how she would have answered.


Kim and Steve said...

How encouraging! I'm glad you got to go.

Joey Lynn Resciniti said...

I didn't recognize the name but as I read your post I remembered the story. It is an inspiration to any parent of a child that must overcome challenges. What a great experience to go see her speak!

Rachael said...



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