Mention a church steeple to most people, and they see a generic version of a steeple. Mention a church steeple to Temple Grandin, and she sees a series of specific steeples in her mind, ranging from one at her childhood church, to some in Fort Collins, where she is a professor at Colorado State University and those of famous churches around the world.
“My mind works like Google for images,” she said in a talk she taped for TED.com.
Grandin, who has Asperger’s syndrome, is a well-known voice for people with autism and the subject of a recent award-winning film on HBO. As part of Autism Awareness Month, her talk will be screened Tuesday at Fort Lewis College. A live panel discussion about the autism spectrum will take place after the screening.
“Who do you think made the first stone spears?” she asks in her presentation. “The Asperger guy. If you were to get rid of all the autism genetics, there would be no more Silicon Valley.”
In her talk, Grandin shares insights into how autistic minds work and gives recommendations to parents of young children diagnosed with autism on early intervention.
“I worry about where younger versions of Asperger kids are ending up today,” she says in the talk. “Not in Silicon Valley, where they belong, that’s for sure. An Asperger’s mind tends to be a specialist mind.”
FLC student Katey Redmond, who is on the autism spectrum herself, is organizing the panel.
The presentation, which is billed as “an educational event emphasizing the strengths and combating the stereotypes of autism,” is sponsored by FLC Disability Services and Diversity Programming.