Thirty or so years ago the professional world woke up to the difference between people who were considered mentally retarded and those who were beginning to be diagnosed as autistic. All these categories today are considered grossly generalized. For people who are autisitic the term of art for them is “spectrum” as though people with autism are like the different waves of light which are needed to create a rainbow.
I remember being astounded when I was waiting to check out of the old store, it might have been a K-Mart, where the West Duluth Menards now stands and picking up a paperback book near the cashier. The book was by Temple Grandin and I was astounded as I read it because my earliest impression of autistic people was they were were hopelessly uncommunicative. The author of this book was both autistic and a very good writer something to which I aspired. I did not buy the book, nor have I ever read it. Knowing that the author had a very bright brain inside her head was all that I really cared to know.
Years later I discovered that the author was also a world renowned animal expert who was changing the slaughter house industry for the better.
I read the other day that she was going to be in Duluth to speak. She’s one of the few thinkers I would be tempted to go and listen to. I’ve heard her on NPR a lot over recent years and have been very impressed with some of her ideas.
My Buddy just sent me this TED lecture by Grandin. She says more sensible things about education than I’ve heard from anybody in the Duluth School system for the past six years.
If you haven’t got twenty minutes now to listen to it keep this in mind and watch it when you do.