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Temple Grandin coming to Albany

Autism advocate Temple Grandin will speak at the Albany Municipal Auditorium tonight, sharing her story and giving advise to parents of autistic children. The program begins at 7 p.m.

Autism advocate Temple Grandin will speak at the Albany Municipal Auditorium tonight, sharing her story and giving advise to parents of autistic children. The program begins at 7 p.m.

ALBANY, Ga. — In her effort to reach beyond the nation’s bigger cities, Temple Grandin is coming to Albany to share her life story and give guidance to parents of autistic children.

Grandin is set to speak at the Albany Municipal Auditorium at 7 tonight. The free event is one of a series being sponsored by Phoebe Putney Memorial Hospital as part of the hospital’s centennial celebration.

This will be Grandin’s only appearance in Georgia this year.

The Albany Advocacy Resource Center distributed all the tickets given to them by Phoebe within 48 hours of announcing availability.

Grandin, who will talk about her journey with autism, is a world famous animal scientist and autism self-advocate who was included in the 2010 TIME 100, the magazine’s annual list of the 100 most influential people in the world.

The key to helping many autistic children succeed, Grandin said, is interaction and help from those that influence them. In her case, it was a science teacher.

“A lot of kids can go places with the right help,” she told The Albany Herald earlier this week.

“I can’t emphasis enough the importance of good teachers.”

This is especially helpful to autistic toddlers that are non-verbal.

“For a child who is 3 years old and not talking, the worst thing to do is nothing,” Grandin said. “Engage them. That’s important.

“Get them to engage in the world.”

The act of getting children engaged can be done through simple tasks, and is achievable even in areas with fewer resources for autistic children.

“I started at feed yards,” Grandin said. “Feed yards are fascinating.

“Opportunities are there. You just have to find them.”

This can also mean starting up an online business, Grandin said. “The Internet can a monumental timewaster, or a useful tool,” she said.

The idea is to find a child’s area of strength, and focus on it — which will ultimately be helpful in them developing skill sets they can use as adults.

“Take what kids are good at, and build on it,” Grandin said.

In 2010, HBO produced a full-length, Emmy award-winning film, “Temple Grandin.” Claire Daines won a Golden Globe, Screen Actors Guild Award and an Emmy for her portrayal as Grandin.

Grandin, who has Asperger’s Syndrome, is a professor at Colorado State University. She is also a professional designer of humane livestock facilities. She earned her bachelor’s degree at Franklin Pierce College, her master’s in animal science at Arizona State University and a doctorate in animal science at the University of Illinois in 1989.

Grandin has lectured about autism around the world and on many television programs. She is considered a philosophical leader of both the animal welfare and autism advocacy movements.

“A lot of people ask me how I feel about being considered so influential. I feel it’s my responsibility,” Grandin said. “I take it very seriously.

“That’s how I look at it.”

In North America, almost half of the cattle are handled in a center track restrainer system that she designed for meat plants. She teaches courses on livestock behavior and facility design at Colorado State and consults with the livestock industry on facility design, livestock handling and animal welfare.

Grandin’s visit, sponsored by Phoebe, is being hosted by Albany ARC and the Autism Society of America-Georgia Chapter. The appearance will be preceded and followed by her signing books at the Carnegie Library, next to the Municipal Auditorium.