Wednesday, 07 March 2012
CHICO — When a young child is diagnosed as autistic, parents must move into high gear, Temple Grandin said in Chico Wednesday.
“The worst thing you can do is nothing,” she said.
Grandin, who is autistic herself, is famous as an animal-behavior expert and as an advocate for people with autism.
An author and professor of animal science at Colorado State University, Grandin spoke twice, to large audiences, in Chico State University’s Bell Memorial Union Auditorium Wednesday morning. She also was to be the keynote speaker at the Butte County Farm Bureau’s annual banquet Wednesday evening.
In her talk on autism, Grandin said young autistic children who are non-verbal should have a teacher working with them intensely from an early age.
They need “at least 20 hours weekly of one-to-one teaching,” she said. “Get them engaged. Build on their strengths.”
Autism is “a range of complex neurodevelopment disorders, characterized by social impairments, communication difficulties, and restricted, repetitive and stereotyped patterns of behavior,” according to the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke.
Grandin said autistic people have major abnormalities “in the circuits that connect different parts of the brain.”
She talked about some of the ways autistic people experience the world differently from how most people do.
In part, autism is “a sensory processing disorder,” she said. “Kids block their ears because certain sounds hurt.”