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Autism Awareness Month: Temple Grandin, Ph.D. To Answer Questions About Autism

Temple Grandin, Ph.D. a successful person with high-functioning autism, is concerned aobut the future of young people leaving the school systems for adult life. For this reason, Temple Grandin will be participating in an interactive and free Q & A online on Saturday April 7th, from 8:00am to 9:30am PST (11:00 am to 12:30pm EST) on Registrants will be able to send in questions for Temple.

The subject of the Emmy-award winning HBO documentary “Temple Grandin,” Temple is a professor at Colorado State University, bestselling author, consultant to the livestock industry on animal behavior. Temple has this to say about the transition out of schools ervices for those with autism:

One of the most difficult times for many individuals on the spectrum is making the transition into adulthood. This is an area that is sadly neglected despite the fact that it is hugely important. I have had teachers and parents tell me many sad stories where a young adult loses a job or drops out of college because they were not prepared for a world away from home.

Pretty soon 700,000 to 800,000 teens and young adults will be leaving the school system and our society is not prepared for the sociological or economic impact. And the impact will be even more significant as the Center for Disease Control (CDC) has just announced the one in 88 children, one in 54 boys in the US has autism.

The transition to adult services has been very difficult for my son Jeremy and the family – as it is for most going through that transition. Having the supports in place for that person to be productive and lead a full life, if needed, is not an easy task and doesn’t happen all on it’s own. Trying to develop friendships, find mentors, and keep up connections already made is a full time job as well.

So what are parents and their loved one supposed to do to prepare for adult life? Jeremy and I give our suggestions in A Full Life with Autism: From Learning to Forming Relationships to Achieving Independence. We know how hard it is for parents and for those on the spectrum. We want people to know the realities, but we want to empower them with the possibilities.

Temple and Jeremy, are both labeled autistic, and are very different although they share similarities in that they both have sensory processing challenges and both don’t like surprises very much. What they have in common, other than a label is that they both want a full, enjoyable life, just like anyone else does. As Jeremy puts it in the preface of A Full Life With Autism:

All of us on the spectrum are different from one another and our wants and hopes are as well. It is important to recognize that when planning our lives. Mighty systems are in place that don't understand this. Our nation was built on the principle that all people are created equally. Yet all Americans are not treated equally. African Americans, women, gay people, and the disabled continue to struggle, even those that have been given equal rights. Systems change will not happen unless we convince society that we are all differently abled yet deserve equal consideration.

On Sat April 7th, Jeremy and I will also be availalbe to answer questions on from 9:45am to11:15am PST (12:45 pm to 1:15pm EST).


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