Last week I attended a presentation by Temple Grandin, in Pittsburg Kansas. For those of you that don't know, Dr. Grandin is a professor at Colorado State University, a best-selling author, speaker, autism activist and an animal behavior consultant, who also happens to be listed in Time's top 100 most influential people in the world list. She is also on the spectrum herself.
After her presentation, I was granted two minutes to ask her some questions that have been weighing on my mind, concerning my daughter.
Please note that I'm going to paraphrase most of this conversation because I didn't think to record it. (I know, I suck.)
Me: Dr. Grandin, my daughter is seven years-old and in the second grade. Other children are now noticing that she is different. Right now I'm not certain she is bothered by the teasing and comments but I know that won't always be the case. What do I do to help her fit in or avoid the mean kids?
Dr. Grandin: You don't allow her to be put into those situations.
Me: How do I do that?
Dr. Grandin: You push her into the geek fields because the geeks won't tease their own. You push her into the arts, into music, drawing, theater. You get her into the chess club and mathletes. That's where she's going to excel anyway.
Me: In your presentation, you said to use whatever that child's "thing" is, to keep them engaged, and ultimately turn it into a career. We have yet to discover what my daughter's "thing" is. What do we do?
Dr. Grandin: You try harder. These kids are content to stay in the little boxes they created for themselves; it's your job to stretch them. They need exposed to more than the average kid. Push the hands on activities. Teach her to sew, embroider. Do you know how much a tailor makes?
Aid: Your time is up.
Me: Thank you, Dr. Grandin.
Dr. Grandin: I like your hat. I really like your hat.
Me: If my hair didn't look so horrible under it, you could have it!
She gave me so much to think about. And that's what I did the entire 90 minute drive home, think. How do I stretch a rather rigid child? Where do I start?
After a pow-wow with the Hubby we decided that a shopping trip was in order. We decided to take Temple's advice and push the hand's on activities, so we picked up a cross stitch kit and a pink bb gun. So next weekend we begin gun safety and a blue butterfly. I think I'm the one that's stretching....
- The Mommy
- Podunk, Kansas
- Hi and welcome to my blog. "Because I'm..." is the story of how I balance life with multiple children with multiple diagnoses: autism, bi-polar, learning disabilities and pissy attitudes to name a few, a burgeoning urban farmstead, and budding photography career. Yeah, it's all coming up crazy 'round here!
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