Temple Grandin, professor of animal science at Colorado State University and the author of a new book The Autistic Brain—Thinking Across the Spectrum, is autistic.
Of course, she isn’t the typical autistic person. That’s one point she makes in her book. There is no typical autistic person. Some people on the autistic spectrum are nonverbal, and some aren’t. Some are good at math, and some, like Grandin, aren’t. Some, like Grandin, are brilliant, and some aren’t.
Autistic people have many strengths, she stresses. “I’m certainly not saying we should lose sight of the need to work on deficits. But, as we’ve seen, the focus on deficits is so intense and so automatic that people lose sight of the strengths….
“I’m concerned when 10-year-olds introduce themselves to me and all they want to talk about is “my Asperger’s” or “my autism.” I’d rather hear about “my science project” or “my history book” or “what I want to be when I grow up.” I want to hear about their interests, their strengths, their hopes.”
Grandin makes a good point—for people who work with children who are autistic or for anyone. We all have deficits and strengths. All of us need to concentrate on our strengths.