Friday, March 16, 2007

The Woman Who Thinks Like A Cow

Why would a leaf on a path cause a cow to stop dead in its tracks? Watch this video on Dr. Temple Grandin titled "The Woman Who Thinks Like A Cow." It is a 48 minute documentary produced by the BBC. This remarkable woman with autism describes what it is like to think visually in our world.

Thinking in pictures gives her a better understanding of animals. Realizing she experiences the world much as animals do, she can relate to them in ways other people can't. Although autism is very different for each person who has it, Dr. Grandin feels the common thread is the ability to notice detail. She developed this talent into skills that turned into a satisfying career. Having a PhD in animal science, she has dedicated her life to the betterment of animals.

Education should have a strong emphasis on building strengths, not just on addressing deficits. Who knows where talents can lead our students!

Other key points in the video:
  • deep pressure is calming and relaxing (notice the "squeeze machine")
  • people with autism have sensory based thinking (think in pictures, in sounds, in touches)
  • sensory defensiveness can create havoc with an individual with autism
  • fear is the main emotion in autism (needing to escape from stressful situations)

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