The OUC Ballroom featured a full house on March 13 at 7 p.m. for the Distinguished Speaker Series introducing Temple Grandin, as the honorary speaker.
The Mark E. Johnston Professor of Entrepreneurship at Manchester University, Jim Falkiner, introduced Grandin and explained why Grandin received a unique accomplishment.
Grandin was the recipient of the Manchester University Innovator of the Year Award for 2012-13.
“This annual award recognizes innovators who successfully implement highly creative solutions to either recognized or previously unrecognized problems of significance,” Falkiner said in an email.
Grandin is a professor of animal sciences at Colorado State University, an author, a lecturer and an animal and autism advocate. Grandin’s own diagnosis of autism gave her the knowledge and experience to improve both the handling of livestock and to help those with autism and their families.
Throughout her presentation, Grandin stressed the importance of realizing that each person thinks in different ways.
“What I want to get you thinking about tonight is the different ways that people think, not everybody thinks the same way,” Grandin said.
Grandin admitted that she thought in visual pictures, which aided in her understanding of animals. Grandin explained that animals’ thinking is very sensory based. When there are unfamiliar sensory experiences, an animal can become very frightened.
Grandin is very adept at recognizing minor details, such as a flapping flag, which would scare animals when introduced into new environments.
“Sometimes the most obvious is the least obvious,” Grandin said.
These minor details aided in Grandin’s designs to make industrial buildings friendlier for the livestock and more effective.
“Details are important. If you are building a bridge there are important details that you better have or it just might fall down,” Grandin said.
Grandin is also intuitive on how to handle young children that are diagnosis with autism.
“If you work on these little kids really, really early its going to really improve them,” Grandin said. “You cannot let a little 3-year-old that’s not talking just sit around and do nothing.”
Grandin’s main advice for parents with children who have autism is to get them involved in work that is a shared interest with other students their age, instead of having them sit around the house playing video games for hours on end.
“I am seeing too many of these kids, kids a lot less severe than me, they’re kind of over protected,” Grandin said. “Now you cannot do surprises, no surprises, they might just panic, but you got to stretch them.”
Grandin’s family and her mentors provided many opportunities to stretch her, and this resulted in the wonderful work that she has provided, not just for the livestock industry, but also for children with autism.
One of Grandin’s many accomplishments is creating a machine that allows hypersensitive individuals the chance to calm down by squeezing.
Grandin is also the author of several books, including such titles as “Different … Not Less,” “The Way I See It” and “Animals Make Us Human: Creating the Best Life for Animals.”
Media outlets, such as “The Today Show,” “Larry King Live,” Time magazine, People magazine and the New York Times have mentioned Grandin, according to a Colorado State University-Pueblo event release.
“Temple Grandin,” an HBO biopic film about Grandin’s life, starring Claire Danes, was the recipient of seven Emmys and a Golden Globe, according to the CSU website about Grandin.
Grandin said that the representation of herself in the movie, the visual thinking, her projects, the sensory problems and the main characters, were all accurate.
“Mick Jackson, the director, he’s a visual thinker and he just got it,” Grandin said. “They showed how I think visually.”
The event had a turnout of around 1,200 people according to sources in the Student Activities office.