By Madeline Ostrander
Dr. Temple Grandin says she knows the mind of a cow.
It’s not a fuzzy assertion—Grandin, an animal scientist at Colorado State University, is one of the hardest-nosed researchers you’ll ever meet. She is autistic and claims that she literally thinks like an animal—in pictures. She notices details that most people tune out—such as a hat dangling on a fence or a shiny reflection that could spook cattle…
…Grandin brought sweeping change to the meat industry 10 years ago, when McDonald’s and Wendy’s—under pressure from animal rights activists—hired her to improve how their beef suppliers treat animals. Now half of U.S. cattle end up in slaughterhouses designed by Grandin. Even PETA founder Ingrid Newkirk has blogged about her admiration for Grandin’s work. Time Magazine named her one of the 100 most influential people of 2010. And the HBO movie about her early life won five Emmys last August… click here to read whole article
Taken from Access Tools for X-Men.Children with Autism, OCD, ADD and ADHD.
Edited by Jan Silk from classes with Gary Douglas and Dain Heer
What if these children we are calling disabled actually have greater abilities than their so-called normal counterparts?…
Would another possibility open up if we were to give up functioning from the point of view that there is something wrong with them because they don’t learn the way we do?
The simple reality is that they learn in a totally different manner. What would it be like if we were to find out how they learn, rather than trying to teach them using our methods?
Use Whole Picture Communication
One of the features of autism is whole brain function instead of a right brain/left brain function, which is why people with autism are unable to linearise their reality. They function with a whole or spherical awareness of reality so they do not understand the concept of step 1, step 2, step 3 or A-B-C; they see from A to Z and everything in between all at the same time.
Unless you provide the whole picture, they cannot understand your instructions. We see their confusion and we tend to think we have made our request too complicated for them and so we make the instructions even more linear, simple and focused when what is required is exactly the opposite.
This tool is illustrated in the following session where Dain and Gary were working with an autistic child in Houston.
Nicholas was four years old and had a 41-word vocabulary. His mother told us he couldn’t learn words easily. When he came in, he was jumping. Every time he jumped, we said, “Wow that was a good jump. Want to jump some more?” And he would. Pretty soon, he said, “Jump.” Why? We were acknowledging the ‘activity’ he was doing rather than trying to teach him the word from a linear, ‘thinking’ perspective.
We worked with Nicholas and his mother for a while until we got to the end of what Nicholas was willing to do, and they were getting ready to leave. Nicholas had learned a new word, he had looked us in the eyes, he had been present with us, he had communicated with us in numerous ways, and he was now ready to leave. He was standing at the door, grabbing the handle and pulling it down, but he couldn’t get out. His mother kept saying, “Come over and put your shoes on, Nicholas. Come over and put your shoes on.”
I said, “Give him the whole picture of him walking away from the door, coming over to you, putting his shoes on, taking your hand and walking out the door with you.” She asked, “How do I do that?” I said, “Just shoot the picture at him of that whole sequence, like a frame of a movie.” She did, and Nicholas instantaneously left the door, went over to her, put on his shoes, grabbed her hand and tried to go out the door. He instantaneously got the whole thing. It was done within a minute, while she had been trying for 5 minutes previously to get him to do it.”
If you give children like Nicholas the whole picture of what you want them to do, they will get it and chances are, they’ll co-operate and do everything you want. It can even be a picture of the entire day. If you give them the full picture of what you have planned for the day, you will probably end up getting the result you are asking for. What you can’t do is linearise it. They can’t function from this point of view. They don’t construct things from the same solid points of view that everybody else does. For them, past, present and future, time, space, dimensions and reality exist all at once. When you communicate with them, you have to communicate the holograph of what’s going to happen, not the steps. You have to give them the energy of the whole thing…
Jill McCormick is an Access Consciousness facilitator , Licensed Speech Therapist and Local Assistive Technology Specialist (Jill is called in to local schools to assist in helping children access the curriculum by bridging the barriers between the children, the teachers themselves and how the information they need to learn is accessed.)