July 13, 2013

Autism: talking about right brain thinking

Autism, Asperger's, AD(H)D or Dyslexia? It's time we took a look at these "inabilities" in a whole new light!

We tend to look at people searching for the negative first, based on our past education. The ego wants to establish its "place", comparing itself with others. "How are they different from me?" And then we go into categorizations and statements about what is "normal" and what is not, basically to secure our own self-worth...

What if we decided initially that the IS NO "normal" and that each person has something unique and extraordinary to offer to the world and us?

Meet Temple Grandin; an amazing woman in her own right:

“Who do you think made the first stone spears? The Asperger guy. If you were to get rid of all the autism genetics, there would be no more Silicon Valley.”

"Now, the thing about the autistic mind is it attends to details. OK, this is a test where you either have to pick out the big letters, or pick out the little letters,and the autistic mind picks out the little letters more quickly.

And the thing is, the normal brain ignores the details. Well, if you're building a bridge, details are pretty important because it will fall down if you ignore the details. And one of my big concerns with a lot of policy things today is things are getting too abstract. People are getting away from doing hands-on stuff. I'm really concerned that a lot of the schools have taken out the hands-on classes, because art, and classes like that, those are the classes where I excelled."

Watch the movie

Dr. Grandin didn't talk until she was three and a half years old, communicating her frustration instead by screaming, peeping, and humming. In 1950, she was diagnosed with autism and her parents were told she should be institutionalized. She tells her story of "groping her way from the far side of darkness" in her book Emergence: Labeled Autistic, a book which stunned the world because, until its publication, most professionals and parents assumed that an autism diagnosis was virtually a death sentence to achievement or productivity in life.

Dr. Grandin has become a prominent author and speaker on the subject of autism because "I have read enough to know that there are still many parents, and yes, professionals too, who believe that 'once autistic, always autistic.' This dictum has meant sad and sorry lives for many children diagnosed, as I was in early life, as autistic. To these people, it is incomprehensible that the characteristics of autism can be modified and controlled. However, I feel strongly that I am living proof that they can" (from Emergence: Labeled Autistic).

Even though she was considered "weird" in her young school years, she eventually found a mentor, who recognized her interests and abilities. Dr. Grandin later developed her talents into a successful career as a livestock-handling equipment designer, one of very few in the world. She has now designed the facilities in which half the cattle are handled in the United States, consulting for firms such as Burger King, McDonald's, Swift, and others.

Temple Grandin, Ph.D., is now the most accomplished and well-known adult with autism in the world. Her fascinating life, with all its challenges and successes has been brought to the screen.

from Temple's website:

Here are two great articles on Autism, which I found very interesting:

I remain a firm believer that if we really observed and accepted each child and adult as unique, we would have a lot to learn from them and much more to offer one another. This is a new calling for humanity; to get out of our fixed diagnosis and begin seeing the individual, in a holistic way, instead of concentrating on what's "negative" or "abnormal". The "normal" mentality is definitely out of date for the spiritually conscious human being.

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