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Part Three: Talking with Dr. Temple Grandin, Author of "Thinking in Pictures"

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That's right. HBO is making a movie about me, starring Clare Danes, and that scene is going to be in the movie.

So, if it's not a secret, can you talk about it a little?

No, it's not a secret. One of the things I had to learn was not to be such a dirty slob. and I had to have people get pretty blunt with me to get me to change my ways. And I was real angry at the time when they did that, but then I changed my ways. Because I wanted the job.

And therefore you opened doors for yourself.

That's right.

So, that's a good segue to what I wanted to talk about now. What special challenges do high-functioning autistic students face in getting into college, taking college courses and getting jobs in the outside world?

Well, one of the biggest challenges is uneven skills; you can be good at one thing, and bad at another. For example, I can't do algebra. Algebra was impossible. I'm finding a lot of students that absolutely can't do algebra but they can do geometry just fine. They need to be able to take geometry. For them, algebra is not the prerequisite for geometry. Some of the kids who are brilliant at math, reading is hard. So, what some of them may need to do is maybe take a reduced load, take a little longer to get through college.

The other problem is bad test results. Lots of times you had to get in through the back door and the way I got into my undergraduate college is my mother went and talked to the dean and he let me in on probation. And I got good grades. How did I get through college math? Well, thank goodness, in the ‘60s, it was not algebra. The regular college math class in the late ‘60s was finite math. It was probability, statistics and matrices. It was a little less abstract. And with tutoring, I was able to do it.

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Joan Brunwasser is a co-founder of Citizens for Election Reform (CER) which since 2005 existed for the sole purpose of raising the public awareness of the critical need for election reform. Our goal: to restore fair, accurate, transparent, secure (more...)
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