I was perusing on Google + the other day and something caught my eye. It was a one on one interview with Temple Grandin, conducted at The Autism Program of Illinois premiere of the HBO movie about her life story. I had seen other clips on youtube of her lectures in the past, but this one was a spontaneous interview that she participated in which I found very interesting. Watching her respond with passion and concern for children with Autism at this time in our history, reminded me that we have come so far, yet much more is needed to prepare these children for adulthood.
One of the first points she brings up is that doing nothing for a young child with autism is the worst thing you can do. She stated that these children require many hours of one on one therapy with an effective teacher, and that they must learn proper behavior at a young age. Due to the fact she was raised in the 50’s, Temple feels that’s why she learned that skill at an early age. Also, because turn taking doesn’t come naturally to children with autism, it is an essential skill that must be taught while they are young.
For those children who are in middle school or older, they need to know basic life skills. She couldn’t stress enough learning job skills long before graduation from high school. It’s important to help the child make the transition into adulthood in a slow manner. One interesting point she brought up was punctuality. Again, a skill she learned at an early age. Temple learned to use her work to gain employment because she knew she couldn’t market herself in the traditional interview structure. One topic that made her smile was the subject of the high school teacher that changed her life….which is proof positive, that teachers are vital in preparing our children for adulthood!!
I hope you take a moment to listen to Temple Grandin’s advice, not only does it apply to children with autism, I think it works for all children with special needs.