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What'd Ya Say? Wednesdays: Temple Grandin

16 January 2013

Hello all!

Well here we are at my first edition of "What'd Ya Say? Wednesday". Basically, I am hoping to enlighten everyone each week with something new and interesting that I find. These will typically have some relation to Speech-Language Pathology or Linguistics and related subjects, such as: Genetics, Audiology, Disorders/Diseases, Technology, etc. I'll provide written or video commentary on articles, videos, websites, journals and feature blogs that deal we these subjects! If I feature any blogs, I'll be sure to put them in the "Feature Blogs" page at the top of my blog.

This week's edition is about an amazing lady, Temple Grandin, who has Autism. At the time, her specific type of Autism was called Asperger's Syndrome, but (I believe) that it is no longer considered a "thing", rather just part of the vast spectrum that encompasses Autism.  Speech-Language Pathologist have many cases with people that have Autism Spectrum Disorder, and I believe that her speech brings light into these fascinating minds.

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Her speech, titled "The World Needs All Kinds of Minds", details just how the autistic mind works; it relies on detail rather than global attention to a subject.  In turn, they are also very specified in what they do. Once they find a passion, they will often fixate on it and become specialists in what they chose. She also states that there are even different minds within the Autistic population: the photo-realistic-visual thinkers, pattern thinkers, and verbal people. Photo-realistic-visual minds, like her, tend to be great spatial thinkers and use pictures/motion "pictures" to identify objects and ideas. Pattern thinkers are great for abstract and mathematical thinking. Verbal minds are good for expression and memorizing facts. She states that many teachers lack the knowledge and resources to assist these students and facilitate their growth.

If teachers and professionals knew that we not only need 'normal' minds that see the big picture, but we also need these detail-oriented thinkers, then we would be able to figure out many problems. We would also be able to help their growth as well, whether it be through hands-on classes, one-on-one sessions or mentoring a student. She actually states that mentoring is one of the greatest facilitators we have to help students grow. I believe her statement that it doesn't matter if it's an old skill to learn, as long as a skill is learned, it can create a spark to then desire more education in the newer aspects of the skill. She also mentions how those with Autism are very sensory-oriented and sensitive to certain senses. We need to keep that in mind, as with the other information, in order to help provide appropriate and attention-creating therapy ideas.

As Speech-Language Pathologists, teachers, researchers and fellow citizens, we need to understand and attempt to relate to minds like hers. We can get great insight and use this knowledge to further our therapy ideas, research and teaching for not only autistic minds, but for others with and without disabilities! She is a great person to learn from, and has an interesting personal history that you can look further into if you are interested!