Temple Grandin speaks at Bakersfield College

Rosa Salazar, Copy Editor

All seats were filled in the Norman Levan Center at Bakersfield College on Feb. 12 to see guest speaker, Temple Grandin.

Grandin is an animal science professor at Colorado State University, an autism spokesperson and an advocate for animal welfare in slaughterhouses.

Grandin is also a published author on several books and articles about autism and animal welfare.

Kirk Russell, Library Department Chair, introduced Grandin and talked about the sponsors of the event which are the Bakersfield College Agriculture Department, BC students, Library’s Cerro Author Series and the Office of Student Life Distinguished Speakers Series.

Grandin’s first speech of the day was titled, “Autism and my path through life.” In her speech, she went over the types of thinkers, “people who think in pictures,” “people who think in mathematics,” and “people who think in words.”

Rosa Salazar
Temple Grandin, explains the limitations some children with autism might have.

As a visual thinker herself, Grandin said she is able to see risks in many situations.

Grandin also emphasized the importance of these types of thinkers and that it is vital that these types of minds are able to work together,” she said.

Grandin hopes the audience was able to take an important lesson away from the speech.

“People think differently and when you understand how some of the different minds think, they can work together.”

After the speech, listeners were encouraged to ask Grandin questions in a Q&A session.

One member asked what advice would you give to young teachers working with students with autism.

“Don’t get too hung up on the labels. I’m seeing a lack of teaching life skills,” Grandin said.

People also had the opportunity to get their book signed and take pictures with Grandin.

Alana Lewis shared that she came to the event to accompany her son.

“I have a son who’s autistic and he practically worships the ground that Dr. Grandin walks on. Everything I do I do for my son because I just want him to be ok in this world even when if I’m gone. He’s [a] borderline savant. He’s brilliant; he does algebra in his head,” Lewis said.

Lewis hopes more people accept those on the spectrum.

“People who aren’t autistic they need to be a little bit more accepting and learning that they have a lot to offer…they have a place in this world too and they have their own gifts… in my eyes every student who’s autistic they have a gift every single one of them,” Lewis said.

Johanna Rhodes, an attendee, shared her thoughts on Grandin.

“I’m a special education teacher so I think any chance to meet her. She is just such an inspiration to everybody,” Rhodes said.

Paul VanderWerf said Grandin and her speech were amazing.

”I worked with autistic children back in the 80s and I watched her movie on HBO; I was amazed. Now I’m a disabled veteran into agriculture so it was just amazing that’s all I could say. You see a little of a lot of people by the way that she’s able to clarify and talk clearly. It was refreshing,” VanderWerf said.

Russell explains how the Distinguished Speakers are selected.

“We try to select a variety of speakers in terms of race, gender, and area of expertise.  It’s been a while since we’ve had a speaker whose concentration falls into the agriculture area, and we’ve never had a speaker talk to us about autism,” Russell said. “We also know that there are a number of instructors on campus who assign research papers dealing with animals and how

Rosa Salazar
There were not enough seats at the Levan Center to see Temple Grandin on Feb. 12.