Interviewing Temple Grandin is a rare treat. Sitting and chatting with her after an interview is…life changing. I had that opportunity a few weeks ago. The interview portion of our time together went well. She is a consummate professional. She restates your question so the editing job is cleaner and easier, she knows where to clip the mic so her cowboy tie won’t rustle. She’s in the zone and ready when the cameras are on. So when the interview was over I really expected her to be all business and quickly depart. Not Temple. She graciously stayed for pictures and the autographing of plastic cows, during which I asked her if she was still teaching.
I was a fan of Temple Grandin’s long before I was the parent of a child on the Autism spectrum. Once my son was diagnosed with Autism I became a fan of Temple’s mother, Eustacia Cutler. In an era where Autism awareness wasn’t even in its infancy and treatments were basically relegated to institutionalizing your child and walking away, Eustacia Cutler forged her own path.
When I found out I had been granted an interview with Temple Grandin I was as excited as a 10 year old girl going to her first Justin Beiber concert. There was only one problem. The terms of the interview stated that I had to interview her at her hotel and I had secured an interview location at the venue where she would be speaking later that night. It wasn’t going to work, and now I was back to square one. I was short on time and the hotel was been singularly unhelpful. So I arrived really early, before the crew, to secure a location at the hotel. The pay-off was that I found myself in the lobby of the hotel, sitting next to Temple Grandin, chatting like a couple of old friends.
She walked into the hotel lobby wearing a black cowboy shirt with a colorful design splashed across the upper chest. I was completely and unashamedly star struck. I had been talking with the director of the upcoming documentary, “Autism in Love” when I saw her walk in. I stopped speaking midsentence and my mouth hung open. “There she is…” I finally said out loud. “It’s Temple Grandin.”
The Story of Luke is a remarkable film about an unlikely hero, a young man with Autism transitioning to adulthood. Lou Taylor Pucci who brilliantly portrays this lovable yound man visits the set of Autism Live to tell how he researched and developed this endearing character, and how playing an individual with Autism has changed his view of the world.
How many Autism Moms does it take to change the world? Just one. Holly Robinson Peete is the perfect example. When her son was diagnosed with Autism her world changed so she changed the world. She helped her son, researched, asked the hard questions, held on to her family and then reached out to help others. Holly’s journey is one of empowerment, whether helping families to get access to services through the HollyRod Foundation or helping her other children to process their feelings about having a sibling on the spectrum or eloquently telling rappers to use their words wisely, Holly is the epitome of a strong Autism mom.
Suzanne Oshinsky is the Director and Producer of the The A-Word, a ground breaking video blog following one little boy and his journey through autism and ABA therapy.
However, the show did a fairly decent job of representing the problem. The vast majority of the scientists and pediatricians repeated the party line that “science has already proven that vaccinations do not cause autism” while a group of frustrated parents eloquently but emotionally expressed the fact that the studies have not been exhaustive and have not taken individual children into consideration.
Now CARD is launching a new tool in the war against autism called Skills™. Skills takes the entire CARD curriculum and makes it accessible to parents, teachers and caregivers around the world. Skills makes it possible, after an extensive assessment, to customize a program that is uniquely tailored to teach an individual child based on their specific needs. It takes the help my child received and makes it portable. It used to be that your child needed to live within 30 miles of a CARD office in order to benefit from this knowledge. Now there are no boundaries on how far this tool can reach.