MAPLEWOOD (WCCO) — A well-known advocate for autism is in the Twin Cities and is helping employers understand the disability.
Temple Grandin’s story is so well-known a movie was made about her. She’s an Animal behavioral scientist and a professor at Colorado State University. She’s also a best-selling author and an advocate for people with Autism.
Grandin was diagnosed with autism, a complex developmental disability, when she was 3 years old. She overcame the odds and is now a famous author and scientist.
Grandin determined that animals and people with autism shared a significant trait… both rely on visual clues in order to navigate their world. She offered this advice to people with autism who are looking for work.
“Sell your work rather than yourself” said Grandin. She also said “people thought I was really weird when I first started but when I showed pictures of things that I designed, drawings of the things that I have designed people went oh, wow you did that?”
She also says social skills need to be taught early at home.
“In the 50′s they pounded social rules in…we were taught to say please and thank you.” “kids aren’t getting taught that so much today and that’s really hurting the kid of geeky Asperger kid.”
Grandin says employees with autism tend to be very loyal. But she says bosses need to be specific when it comes to duties and discipline.
“Employers need to be very clear as to what they want. :unch break in an half an hour, what exactly do I have to do for the job,” she said. “Often times written instruction is better than verbal instructions.”
Grandin will be speaking at the Autism & Employment Forum 7 o’clock Thursday night at the 3M campus in Maplewood.