By Kennedy Rappleye
Esteemed scientist and animal behaviourist Temple Grandin gave a lecture on Thursday, Sept. 30 at Fountain Street Church in a partnership between GRCC’s Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion and the Grand Rapids Public Museum.
In the hour-long speech, Grandin touched on her experience growing up in the 1950s and 60s, being diagnosed with autism, and what steps she believes should be taken to ensure autistic students and people can thrive in educational environments.
“Removing (the arts) is one of the worst things the school system ever did,” Grandin said. Throughout her lecture, Grandin gave examples of how those with autism and related disabilities might think, and how to encourage people with those issues to pursue their interests.
Grandin establishes three main “kinds of thinking” in her lecture, which is expanded upon in her books. She describes herself as a person who thinks in pictures, or an “object visualiser,” and spoke about her experience working alongside those who have more math-oriented brains and her personal conflicts with “verbal brains”.
After the lecture was completed, the floor was opened to questions and then launched into a book signing.
On the topic of bullying, Grandin encouraged those with autism and adjacent disorders to find communities that share interests with them to enable themselves to find friends.
“I was really excited when I found out Grandin would be giving a lecture,” said Griffin Barr, 33, of Grandville. “I’m a father of an autistic child, and Grandin’s work has really helped us at home, so it was great to see her speak.”
ODEI’s Diversity Lecture Series continues on Oct. 6, with a virtual film screening and discussion led by Trimiko Melancon in collaboration with GRCC’s Fannie Lou Hamer Colloquium.