An animal behavior expert from the U.S. told a conference in Dublin on Friday that autistic children should learn how to work.
Dr. Temple Grandin, a professor of animal science at Colorado State University who has autism, but went on to become a renowned scholar who designed humane handling systems for half of the cattle processing facilities in North America, said she sees “too many [autistic] kids that are fully verbal that aren’t learning how to work,” according to The Irish Times.
“I don’t like it when nine-year-olds walk up to me and they want to tell me about their autism. I want to hear about their science project or their history project or the art they’ve done. Things that they’ve done that they can turn into a career,” Grandin said at the All-Ireland State Veterinarians’ Scientific Conference.
Grandin, originally from Boston, became fascinated with horses in her youth, and spent much time at her aunt’s farm growing up.
“I would rather see a kid get fixated on something they can turn into a career rather than getting fixated on his autism,” Grandin told the conference.
She was teased at school, but used her ability to “think in pictures” to eventually forge a career as an academic and advocate for animals.
“When I was younger, I didn’t know that everybody didn’t think in pictures . . . I didn’t understand why people thought it was strange to be looking at what cattle were looking at,” she said.