Temple Grandin Speaks at TED

February 25, 2010 at 11:36 am 1 comment

I watched this on Beyond Meds, a great blog and the product of a very valuable mind. Go there, catch up on the archives and check back often. It is a video of a speaking engagement at TED by Temple Grandin on valuing the diversity of minds and the real-world  usefulness of different types of thinkers. Grandin, diagnosed as autistic, has used her fixations and visual thinking in a great number of ways and her approach has lead to many children’s gifts being fostered instead of shrugged off as deviations. I had seen her on television years ago and not  heard anything since. It appears she’s been quite busy. Thank you, Gianna for posting this.

While I don’t think most would place me on the autism spectrum, I can relate to certain traits and perhaps more importantly to learning and thinking in a way that was not valued in my school years (for what it’s worth, I was labeled an ADD kid later into my schooling). There will always be a larger spectrum of human thought and experience and I will always wonder what things might have been like if there were a way for me to learn with my natural tendencies instead of in opposition to them. I am blessed to have found a career and a small group of peers that find value in the very traits that made me the subject of ridicule, separation and even physical restraint (another story for another time) in a broken school system.

If there are to be labels for children and the way they think, let them be used to offer more and better options and a greater understanding of their gifts, not to measure their distance from an imaginary center held as the ideal approach to learning and socializing. As it stands, normalcy is defined by a child’s adherence to a broken, outdated and narrowly focused system and virtually everything short of that is a disorder at worst and disruptive at best. If we begin to change our views and our establishments to suit the endless resource of young minds, everyone wins. If we stifle them to suit an old educational and social framework, everyone loses — everyone.

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1 Comment

  • 1. Nathan  |  March 1, 2010 at 5:50 pm

    Awesome video. Interesting points in how to teach people who learn differently and foster that along.


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