In March, Dr. Temple Grandin gave a seminar at the University of North Florida about her accomplishments. This was of particular interest to the THRIVE students because Dr. Temple Grandin is a remarkably successful woman and innovator in the agricultural field, who also has Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). Dr Grandin’s seminar is titled “Thinking in Pictures: My Life with Autism.”  The THRIVE program directors and students had the incredible opportunity of not only listening to Dr. Grandin’s life story but also being able to meet her.

In the seminar, “Thinking in Pictures: My Life with Autism,” Dr. Grandin discusses her life growing up and how she because interested in the agricultural industry.  She spoke about having difficulties in English class as it focused on figurative language, but she found mathematics and science mush easier as they were based on logic and formulas. She also had a very strong grasp on visual learning. Having autism had led her to think in pictures; for example, when someone mentioned a horse, she would mentally pull up all the pictures of horses she had ever seen.

Thinking in pictures also significantly helped her in pursuing a career in agriculture and in designing popular cattle herding methods.  She was able to pick up on thing other people could not. She was also very skilled at tracking and understanding their movement in circular patters, and angles that would be bast suited to them, which aided in their further development of methods.

Temple Grandin faced many obstacles in her life. She was a newcomer to the field when she was first trying to make tremendous changes.  At the time, people had very little understanding of Autism.  She preserved these obstacles and paved the way for others who also shared in her difficulties with Autism.

Dr. Grandin is considered the most accomplished and well-known adult with autism in the world.  In fact, her journey was made into a film.  The THRIVE students were so inspired and thrilled to see and meet someone like them who overcame so many obstacles and rose to such a level of success. Dr. Grandin’s presentation also increased awareness and understanding about ASD for UNF students who may not have encountered ASD or who may not have understood what it means to have ASD.

After the seminar, the THRIVE students met with Dr. Grandin to take pictures and speak to her for a bit.  They were thrilled to have met her.

Thank you to Dr. Temple Grandin for visiting UNF and to UNF for hosting this wonderful event.  Also, thank you to Tara Rowe for all the great pictures you shared with us!