Friday, March 15, 2013

All Kinds of Minds

It's mid-March already! Sometimes I can't believe how quickly time passes. This week's post is going to be a little shorter than usual in terms of word content, but that's because I would really like everyone to watch the TED Talk below. It's a little long, but it sheds quite a bit of light on the mental processes of people with different types of autism.

The talk is given by Temple Grandin, one of the most prominent adults with autism today. She is a doctor of animal science, a professor at Colorado State University, autism activist, bestselling author, and inventor of the hug box, a device used to calm children with autism. I found her talk particularly interesting and inspiring not only for the message it supplies—the world needs all kinds of minds—but the way in which the message is presented. It's an enlightening look at minds across the autism spectrum as explained by a woman with firsthand experience in the subject. Not only does Grandin give excellent examples of how different brains function—for instance, she compares certain human minds, like her own, to those of animals, who are sensory-based thinkers—but she is also an example herself. So while viewers are listening to her insights, they are also seeing how what she says plays out in real life with real human beings.

So many talks are given by people who have second- or even thirdhand experience with the subject of their discourse. Those talks can be very effective; just because the experience isn't firsthand doesn't necessarily make the information invalid. But something about not only talking about a subject, but actually being the subject allows viewers to get a whole new level of understanding and insight. Therefore, I implore you to take the time to watch this video. It's nice to look at things from different perspectives, right? (That's why I love it when you guys share your stories and experiences. Please continue to do so!)

How do you learn best? I, for one, am a visual-verbal learner and could totally relate to what Grandin said about learning social skills as if she were in a play. Do you guys have any interesting learning techniques?

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