Temple Grandin signs copies of her book Thursday at the Carnegie Library before her lecture at the Albany Municipal Auditorium. The event was sponsored by Phoebe Putney Memorial Hospital.
ALBANY — It was an informational session with a few laughs thrown in.
Temple Grandin, who is considered to be the world’s most accomplished and well-known adult with autism, spoke to a full house Thursday evening at the Albany Municipal Auditorium.
The free event was one of a series being sponsored by Phoebe Putney Memorial Hospital as part of the hospital’s centennial celebration.
Grandin talked about her journey with Asperger’s Syndrome, and gave guidance to the community on how to support children with autism.
“Autism is a very big spectrum, to those that are non-verbal to those that might be considered geniuses,” she said. “Albert Einstein would probably be diagnosed with autism today.”
Grandin discussed concepts such as early intervention, specifically when it comes to pushing autistic children to do certain things. She also focused on visual processing problems and how to handle them.
She also talked about what sound, light and touch sensitivity means to someone with autism.
“I’m still not able to hear auditory detail,” she said.
She even gave some insight into how the brain of an autism patient works by describing the brain as a highway system.
“There are freeways that are missing,” Grandin explained. “There is a tendency for freeways to be missing on the east side.
“The more severe the case, the more freeways that are missing.”
Grandin also discussed explaining things using specific examples, and encouraged social interaction through shared interests as well as hands-on activities in order to help autistic children develop skill sets.
“Get them to work in a team,” she said. “Look at what is in your community colleges, your technical colleges.”
A question and answer session followed her presentation. One question from the audience was from a 17-year-old who was recently diagnosed with autism who asked how to cope with their situation.
“I basically learned to turn off anger,” Grandin replied. “The mindset is: ‘How do I solve a problem?’ Seek out the people doing the good things.”
Grandin 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. In 2010, HBO produced a full-length film, “Temple Grandin” starring Claire Danes — who won a Golden Globe, Screen Actors Guild Award and an Emmy for her portrayal of Grandin.
Grandin, a professional designer of humane livestock facilities, is a livestock behavior and facility design professor at Colorado State University. 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.
She is considered to be a philosophical leader in both animal welfare and autism advocacy.
The event was hosted by the Albany Advocacy Resource Center and the Autism Society of America-Georgia Chapter. It was preceded and followed by Grandin signing books at the Carnegie Library, next to the Municipal Auditorium.
During the pre-show signing alone, 300 books were signed. A portion of the book sales made Thursday will go to the Albany ARC.