Dr. Temple Grandin: The Benefits of Expectation

Temple Grandin autism expectations

Over the past several years, Temple Grandin has made quite the name for herself.

She is renowned for her research in animal science, books that have topped the bestseller list, and her work in autism advocacy. However, these accolades are not her most defining feature. Rather, Temple Grandin is best known for being an esteemed professional who also happens to be on the autism spectrum.

Temple Grandin received her diagnosis at age 2, and did not begin speaking until she was 4. From very early on, her parents insisted on getting her the best help and therapy despite the scarcity of resources that were available at that time in the 1950s. However, in a new interview, Grandin has disclosed that the “primitive” days of these early autism therapies may have been more beneficial than the ones promoted currently.

Grandin is open about her struggles with hypersensitivity and connecting with other people on an emotional level. Such struggles are typical of a person living with ASD. What is not typical, however, is how the expectations for people on the spectrum have changed over the course of Grandin’s lifetime.

She notes: “I‘m seeing too many kids get overprotected. Fully verbal kids come into meetings, and parents do all the talking. Nobody taught them how to shake hands. Nobody taught them how to shop. These are things I learned in elementary school.”

During Grandin’s childhood, she was expected to do all these things and more. She says that her mother pushed her to what she could achieve, and that this 1950’s parenting style is what has ultimately led to her great successes. Grandin believes that the gentleness with which new therapies and programs approach autism may in fact be detrimental. In breaking down the stereotypes of neurotypicality, Grandin says she fears that parents are not pushing their children to socialize properly, or learn to adapt to their environments.

Of course, there is a very fine line between pushing too little and pushing too hard. The crux lies within the fact that if we do not push children hard enough, they will never reach their full potential. However, pushing them too hard may consequently lead to discouragement and depression. Nevertheless, Grandin’s advocacy of her 1950’s upbringing proffers a stimulating topic of discussion in the world of autism advocacy.

By Sara Power, Fordham University

This entry was posted in Autism Advocacy, Autism Alternative Treatment, Autism America, Autism Awareness, Autism Education, Autism Symptoms, Autism Therapy, Autism Treatment, Featured, Homepage Slide and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink. Post a comment or leave a trackback: Trackback URL.

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