• Cork Autism Conference

How Easily Do Autistic Individuals Really Understand You? with Dr. Temple Grandin



“There is too much emphasis on what people with autism can’t do,” Dr. Temple Grandin said.


“In the right job, we're very motivated and are very effective if we're given clear goals and projects.”


Dr. Grandin, who is a doctor of animal science and a professor at Colorado State University, invented the ‘squeeze machine’, a device to calm the sensory systems of those on the autism spectrum.


Temple emphasised the importance of early intervention if you think your child may have symptoms of autism.


“You get a three-year-old not talking, not socialising, you got to start working with this kid right now,” she said.


“If your child has been recently diagnosed, is three or four years old and is non-verbal, Temple advises 20 hours per week of one-to-one teaching, saying it should start “right now”.


“Work really hard on the kid’s speech, on social interaction. Learn new words.


That’s what they’ve got to do. Don’t wait. Don’t get locked into the label.”


When talking about her own journey with autism, Dr Grandin said that there were “no magic instant turning points.


It’s a long gradual improvement. You got to keep learning”.


Temple also highlighted the importance of effective communication with both verbal and nonverbal autistic individuals.


“You can’t be vague when you communicate with them. If a functional communication system has not been put into place with a child, his only recourse is behaviour.


“Another thing you got to do is give a chance for the kid to respond. Their brain processes slowly. They freeze up if you try to push them.


You got to give them a chance to respond. That is very important. That goes across the spectrum.”


Dr. Temple Grandin said teaching the autistic person work skills is extremely important, and said an early start was crucial in this respect.


“They’ve got to start that around 12 years old,” she said.


The above writing is extracted from an interview our founder Micheál O’Mathúna did with Dr. Temple Grandin. More from this interview will be published soon.


P.S. To understand more about autism and discover more practical strategies, to make a difference in the lives of autistic children and adults, join Dr. Temple Grandin and other international speakers at our 2021 Online Autism Conference, Thriving With Autism HERE