Shrink Rap Radio – What You Can Learn from Asperger’s Syndrome
We’re used to thinking of developmental disorders as “Dis-abilities.” A newer term is “the differently abled and, at first, you might think that’s just a euphemism. Research studies of savants, for example, reveal that some show incredible artistic, musical, or memory abilities. People along the autism scale experience the world differently than those of us who are “neurotypicals.” By studying these neuro-atypical outliers we are able to shine a light on the functioning of the brain, and perhaps discover our own untapped potentials. For example, what kind of thinker are you? Visual? Auditory? Kinesthetic? Verbal? I suspect most of us “neurotypicals” are verbal thinkers. I know I am. I’m very conscious of thinking in words, silently talking to myself, really. However, my guest today is very much a visual thinker. She’s also a widely-known ambassador from the world of autism, having far exceeded what most people would consider possible for someone with Asperger’s. In fact, I would not be surprised if she didn’t serve as part of the inspiration for the fictional Dr. Temperance Brennan on the popular TV series, Bones. Temple Grandin, Ph.D. is a Doctor of Animal Science and professor at Colorado State University, bestselling author, and consultant to the livestock industry in animal behavior. As a person with high-functioning autism, Grandin is also widely noted for her work in autism advocacy and is the inventor of the hug machine designed to calm hypersensitive persons. She was the focus of the 2010 HBO film, Temple Grandin, which received five Emmy Awards. She is also the author of numerous books and is in wide demand as a public speaker.