Autism activist speaks inspiration to community

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Dr. Temple Grandin spoke at Clarkston High School March 7.

Dr. Temple Grandin spoke at Clarkston High School March 7.

Dr. Temple Grandin spoke at Clarkston High School March 7.

Leah Schmidt, Chief copyeditor

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“When you’re weird, you gotta sell your work.”

Dr. Temple Grandin spoke to members of the Lewiston-Clarkston valley March 7 in the (packed) Clarkston High School auditorium.

Grandin is the author of many books, is often featured on TV and radio, and was the inspiration for an HBO movie starring Claire Danes. She is known as the “most accomplished and well-known adult with autism in the world,” according to The Green Apple Project. Grandin teaches at Colorado State University and also travels the country telling her story and inspiring others to reach their goals.

The Green Apple Project, a local non-profit for autism support and education brought Grandin to the Lewiston-Clarkston valley as part of its Speaker Series. The organization strives to “create a place where our children with autism are not only tolerated, they are valued and respected as well,” according to greenappleproject.org.
In her speech, Grandin strongly encouraged parents to allow their children to participate in activities where they have shared interests with other children.

“The only place I was not bullied was where I had shared interests,” Grandin said of her childhood.
She shared her belief that too many kids are labeled with disabilities before they even know who they are for themselves. Children should have the opportunity to find themselves before society begins sticking labels on them for the rest of their lives, Grandin said. For example, children might be diagnosed on the autism spectrum before they even know what it is, and then are treated as different for the rest of their lives.

Grandin warned that “autism becomes an identity,” which is why it is important for children to find their interests and passions before they are potentially taken away.

Because Grandin has lived through many experiences similar to those who attend her presentations, such as families of people with autism, and many audience members asked for advice for their families.

Grandin has inspired many people with her powerful message. Her passion is evident to anyone who talks or listens to her, and her message is clear: Everyone is different, not less.

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Autism activist speaks inspiration to community