In her recent TED talk, Temple Grandin, diagnosed with autism as a child, tells us how her mind works. She gives an overview of how people on the autism spectrum think and makes the case that the world needs those people: visual thinkers, pattern thinkers, verbal thinkers, and all kinds of smart geeky kids. She describes autism as “a continuum of traits. When does a nerd turn into Asperger, which is just mild autism? I mean Einstein and Mozart and Tesla, would all be probably diagnosed as autistic spectrum today.”
She also joked that Silicon Valley would not exist today if it weren’t for those geeky neuroatypical minds, which drew a big laugh from the techie crowd. And she suggested that this next generation of kids with autism, properly mentored and motivated, could solve the world’s energy problems.
“The world needs different kinds of minds to work together,” she said. Check out the Ted Talk below. I also recommend the HBO original movie, Temple Grandin, starring Claire Danes.
TV: Jone Juliet Buck on Temple Grandin
“The film is a triumph for Claire Danes, who should win not only an Emmy but an Oscar for the jagged, unsentimental, utterly clear channeling of Temple Grandin. With a mop of curly hair, a mouth full of big teeth, the flat, skinny body of one who eats only pudding and Jell-O, and a voice that’s either a shout or a tumble of words, she’s transparent, luminous, ungainly, and wild. She gets us inside the head of the girl who hates French because it’s full of fish-”eels.” And she makes us understand that understanding is her version of feeling.”