Temple Grandin was the Hutchinson Community College, Ray and Stella Dillon Lecture Series speaker Tuesday at the Sports Arena. Grandin is an animal scientist and autism advocate. Grandin has been a professor of Animal Sciences at Colorado State University for 20 years. Grandin's own experience with autism has allowed her to advocate for autism. Grandin has written many, many books on both subjects and was featured in an HBO original film titled "Temple Grandin" with Claire Danes portraying Grandin. Grandin gave a TED Talk in 2010 titled "The world needs all kinds of minds." A documentary on the life and influence of Grandin called "An Open Door" will be released by Colorado State University sometime this year.
Grandin spoke about the different types of specialized thinking used by people both on and off the autism spectrum. These types are visual thinkers who think in pictures like Grandin, music and math thinkers and verbal logic thinking. Some people may have a mixture of these ways of thinking. The importance of understanding a person's thinking pattern helps teachers create strategies that can build on the child's area of strength. Grandin would like more hands-on classes put back into school to help visual thinkers to thrive.
She talked about how collaboration from people who think differently is essential to build companies and she used the construction of a large food process plant as an example. There are object visualizer picture thinkers needed to design the plant layout and specialized mechanical equipment. You also need visual spatial math thinks to engineer boilers, refrigeration, and calculate roof trusses, power and water. She said that there is a huge shortage of electricians, mechanics as well as those who can read drawings.
Grandin also gave tips for working with minds that are different, tips that have helped her with her autism. These include provide a written "Pilot's Checklist" for tasks with multiple steps, avoid long strips of verbal instruction, limit video games and replace with mechanics and provide choices of hands-on activities.
Grandin came down from the platform and had a question and answer session with the attendees. She gave autographs and spoke one-on-one with people after her talk before going to the luncheon at Stringer Fine Arts Center.
The Dillon Lecture Series at HCC was created in 1981 to honor Ray and Stella Dillon. The purpose of the series is to provide the youth of Reno County an out-of-classroom experience and give citizens of Reno County the opportunity to hear outstanding lecturers. Notable past speakers have been Maya Angelou, Robert F. Kennedy Jr., Henry Winkler, Mario Andretti and Capt. Scott Kelly.