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

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Thank goodness.

Yes, thank goodness is right.

But who is there in high schools, and colleges, and college admissions to speak for autistic students?

Sometimes it's a mentor teacher, sometimes it's a parent, sometimes it's a guidance counselor. I had quite a few teachers who were willing to help me when I was in college. Mr. Dion, the math teacher, I went into his office after nearly every lecture, and he'd tutor me.That was very nice of him to do that - and getting good teachers to take an interest in a student - and I had a number of good teachers.

The other thing is that good teachers get attracted to ability. And they could see the things where I did have ability. And when I was going out and starting my freelance livestock handling equipment business people thought it was really weird. But when I showed them one of my drawings they said “Oh wow, you did that?” Then they had respect for me when they saw the drawings. One of the things I had to learn was that I had to sell my work rather than my personality.

That makes perfect sense. In many ways, you live the dream life. You split your time between your two loves - working with the meat processing industry to keep them on target with humane treatment of their livestock. You also travel around the country - and the world - talking with groups about autism. What happens at the sessions regarding autism? Are they support groups? Informational for nonautistic?

They're usually autism conferences. And most of the audience is usually a mixture of parents and teachers, speech therapists and guidance counselors. and a mixture of parents and educators. And a lot of things that I'm telling you right now has come right out of my autism talk.

Do people keep in touch with you - by email or by phone?

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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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