Defying Autism: Dr. Temple Grandin speaks in New Hampton - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Defying Autism: Dr. Temple Grandin speaks in New Hampton

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NEW HAMPTON (KWWL) -

Imagine living with a disorder that changes the way you think and react to the world around you; making it difficult for others to understand you.

More than three million Americans are living with some form of Autism, including so many people here, in Eastern Iowa.

Thursday, a woman who has pioneered the understanding of the disorder and proved you can be successful, spoke to Iowans living with Autism at New Hampton High School.

From a very young age, Dr. Temple Grandin knew she connected more easily with animals than people. 

Growing up in a time where Autism was not widely understood, Grandin's connection to cattle and other livestock became a lifeline.

"When I was in high school kids bullied and teased me. The only places that I was not bullied and teased was riding horses down at the horse barn, electronics club, and we had a little dairy. Animal activities were a refuge away from teasing," said Dr. Temple Grandin.

That lifeline and passion turned into a successful career. Dr. Grandin is internationally recognized for her work in redesigning livestock handling facilities.

A bright future is something Grandin hopes to enable others on the Autism Spectrum to accomplish.

"What we have to do with some of these kids that are kind of quirky and different is find something they are good at and turn it into a career," said Dr. Grandin.

Grandin is a big supporter of trade and art classes in schools, saying they are areas where children with Autism can thrive.

For those who live with Autism, Grandin's story is everything they hope for.

From children:
    "I can believe I am meeting her finally," said Sam.
    "I am ADHD, almost in the Autism Spectrum and I just feel touched that she does miracles even though she has a disorder," said Samuel.

To parents:
     "Fantastic. It is really a wonderful opportunity. I had read a couple of her books when Sam was first diagnosed. It was something that gave me a lot of hope," said Sam's mother, Erin Cline.

To teachers:
    "[The kids I teach] can be pushed a little out of their comfort zone to be more socially able to fit in. Not that they have to change that much, but that we can help them be a part of our society and world," said Special Education teacher Susan Leibold.

More than 2,000 people attended the two presentations Dr. Grandin gave on Thursday.

The New Hampton FFA Chapter was responsible for bringing Dr. Grandin to the area.

Dr. Temple Grandin is also an Animal Science professor at Colorado State University and has written numerous books on Autism, social interactions, and animal behavior.

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