It is interesting how life works. One day you have no idea about something, and on the next day that-something is everywhere.
That happened with Temple Grandin. I never knew who the lady was. Never heard of her. Until yesterday I decided to waste some time and procrastinate working on my coursework, and where do we procrastinate better than on TED. So there was this recent video called- Temple Grandin: The world needs all kinds of mind, – yes, a winner!
So Temple Grandin is pretty amazing. She is one of these ladies that you judge and stereotype when you see, and stare in awe when they start talking. She is the most accomplished and well-known adult with autism in the world. In TED she is talking about how her visual mind works in pictures, and this leads to innovativeness and a different approach to life. She also emphasises how nerdy kids in the Midwest, and everywhere should be shown interesting stuff and made interested in various things, so they can develop their minds in a way that can be beneficial not only to them, but to the world as a whole. It is very interesting as she has a first hand, or I would say first brain experience with Asperger syndrome and Autism , and knows exactly what it feels like to have a brain that functions in a way that normal people have no clue about.
She definitely deserved the standing ovations at the end! It was so inspirational and great to think out of the box. 20 minutes definitely well spent.
Then by some kind of karmic incident I found the movie about her-Temple Grandin, that was just released on HBO. The movie talks about her life- age 4 till her mid twenties when she started improving slaughter-houses in Arizona and talking about Autism.
It is one of these great movies that makes you tear up, and gasp in admiration to the human mind, and will. She is persistent, a little weird for the “normal” people, and painfully creative and smart. Claire Danes did a great job portraying a truthful image. The character of Temple’s mother was amazing too- supportive, a little paranoid, and always there.
I then started reading about Temple. She indeed is an innovator- created the hug machine to calm hypersensitive persons, she designed facilities for humane livestock handling, and contributed greatly to the understanding of Autism. She has several books, has been published in most of the major magazines and has several movies and documentaries about her. From an outsider’s perspective she is simply magnificent in what she managed to achieve, and is a role-model for everyone who feels a misunderstood or out of the norms.
Both the talk and the movie made me think of stereotypes, and how we label people, and segment them in order to explain them. Those people with different minds who are a little weird, a little nerdy, and very often stared at or made fun of, can have such a great potential, but they are often disregarded. Being mainstream and “normal” can be good, but even if we are not, we should embrace our inner-nerd, and the special powers we are given, and apply them to a higher purpose, with persistency and courage. Temple is an inspiration, and I am so very happy I am a procrastinator, so I could discover her and her genius, and yes thank you TED for bringing that genius to all of us.