Friday, February 5, 2010

The Movie: Temple Grandin

Nearly everyone even tangentially involved with autism knows that there's a new movie coming out on HBO tomorrow: "Temple Grandin". I'll take this opportunity to let those who aren't tangentially involved with autism know about it and share my thoughts about her.

Over the past four years, I've read many books on autism, attended several conferences, watched various television programs and even seen a few movies. The books included parent memoirs, memoirs of those on the spectrum, and even discussions of siblings. While I am by no means an expert and I have only scraped the tip of the iceberg in terms of the information available out there, I can say one thing without hesitation:
No one has more credibility when discussing autism than Temple Grandin.
In fact, there is no second place.
As I wrote to a friend in a recent email, pretty much everything she says or writes you can take to the bank. It's filter-less, no-bullshit, exactly-how-it-is stuff. There's no PC, "People First" language. There's no "we should be pampered" nonsense. Just, "Here it is. If you don't like it, tough."
After Joy and I saw her and her mother speak in February 2008, at the "Autism & Asperger's Conference" at South Fork Ranch (yes, the South Fork Ranch of J.R. Ewing fame), we had in our possession several tangible ideas of what we could do to improve our lives immediately. That never happened before nor has it since.
She clued us into the little know fact (at least little known to us) that CRT monitors could make people like her "crazy". She drove home the point that discipline was very important and that she needed to know there were consequences for her behavior. The day after the conference, we replaced our home computer's old monitor with a flat screen. Virtually all of the behavior problems Robbie had involving the computer disappeared overnight. Being specific about the consequences for his behavior, such as no computer or no television for hitting or not doing what he's told, gave us tools to help modify his behavior. Again, the results were nearly instantaneous.
We don't get HBO but I'm sure we'll see the movie soon. I expect it to be a very difficult movie to watch. If the movie stays remotely true to Temple's story, it will be very educational. Check it out if you can.