Oct 032011
Authors: Jason Pohl

Many face adversity and simply give up.

Others accept the world as it is and never try to change it.

But, as a person with high-functioning autism, Dr. Temple Grandin has seen things differently from the very beginning, leading her to become a champion for change and one of TIME magazine’s “100 most influential people in the world.”

A celebration of the accomplishments of CSU’s own internationally recognized animal sciences professor will be held today at 5 p.m. in the Lory Student Center ballroom. The event will feature examples of her work, as well as a question-and-answer session with Grandin.

The event is free and open to the public.

“Dr. Grandin has inspired people around the world by demonstrating that a talented person with autism, with determination and support, can rise to the pinnacle of success in his or her chosen field,” said Coleman Cornelius, the director of communications in the college of agricultural sciences.

Grandin was diagnosed as a child with autism, a developmental disorder that becomes noticeable early and impacts communication skills. There are varying degrees of severity, and treatment can minimize the impact of the condition significantly. But there is no known cure.

“The odds were not in her favor initially,” said Craig Beyrouty, the dean of agricultural sciences at CSU. “She has overcome a lot of these odds that, for many people, may have been unsurpassable hurdles.”

Her time as an advocate for those with autism has been spent explaining to the world that there is room for all kinds of minds and thinkers –– including those who think in pictures like she does. She has worked tirelessly from the beginning and currently advocates the importance of real-world experience for individuals’ strengths and weaknesses across curriculums.

“There are different kinds of minds, and we need to develop their strengths at an early age,” Grandin said in an interview with the Collegian.

She has also been featured on several national television programs, and she even accepted an Emmy on behalf of an HBO film starring Claire Danes depicting her life and advocacy.

“She (Grandin) is a tremendously powerful role model,” Beyrouty said.

In addition to being an inspiration to many, Grandin is known for her tireless work for the humane slaughter of animals. She has repeatedly stressed the importance of the humane treatment and stress-free slaughter of animals, prompting a revolution.

Her ideas have been on the forefront of new systems that reduce anxiety in animals prior to slaughter. The changes have been implemented by major corporations around the world, including McDonald’s and JBS –– two leading meat producers.

“I really want to get people to use basic behavior principles rather than force,” Grandin said.

Grandin continues to be a role model on all fronts, but she has always placed a special emphasis on teaching those who look to enter into the field in the future. She teaches at CSU and continues to speak at numerous engagements around the country.

“I think teaching is important … it is the passing of knowledge that matters,” she said. “I like to get young people turned on to doing things that matter in life.”

Her work does not go unappreciated, and event organizers intend to honor her accomplishments and tireless work during the event while showing that, despite difficulties, success can be the end result.

“She always puts 110 percent into her teaching,” Beyrouty said. “This is an opportunity to not only thank, but for the community to come together and celebrate.”

Senior Reporter Jason Pohl can be reached at news@collegian.com.

  • Where: Lory Student Center ballroom
  • When: Today at 5 p.m.
  • Cost: Free
  • What’s included: Tribute video, presentations, refreshments and a Q&A with Dr. Grandin
 Posted by at 3:58 pm

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