Worshipping at the Temple Grandin

This past week I went to hear Temple Grandin speak. Ever since entering the world of Autism, hers is a name I’ve heard a lot about and I was curious to see what she had to say about growing up autistic. Even though the title of the lecture was “Animals in Translation: How Animals Think and Feel,” I found her mesmerizing. Rarely have I attended an event where the speaker had my complete attention. She spoke easily and authoritatively on her autism and seeing the world from an animal’s point of view. (you can hear her webcast here)

In addition to this gem: “Aspergers is just a medical name for a nerd,” (she really was funny…ah, would that it be so), she talked about horseback riding therapy and said she has heard many a nonverbal child utter their first word atop a horse. (Is two too young to start?) I got the chance to speak with her briefly afterwards and found she’s a big proponent of the GFCF diet. I’m seriously considering this as John’s stimming has become more and more constant.

The more she spoke about being able to see the world from the point of view of animals, the more I thought about John’s sleep issues and wondered if I could somehow “see” what he’s seeing when he awakes so loudly, so abruptly. Is it too dark? Is it too bright? Is he cold? Is he hot? Is he scared?

That is how I came to change the nightlight in their room to a smaller one with a softer glow.

That is also how I found myself at my dusty old sewing machine creating a weighted blanket with beans (the first, at 5 pounds, was way too heavy; the second, at 3 pounds: just right) that has really seemed to make a difference. Three straight nights without a wakeup…!

(crossing fingers now)


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  • I love Temple Grandin. I read Thinking in Pictures in just a few sittings. And that was before I had kids, interestingly enough.
    I am going to look into the weighted blanket idea. B. spends so much of the night awake, giggling and babbling. I’m glad that he is not crying, but I believe he might be nervous or unsettled in some way. Did you find a pattern for the blanket on the internet?
    (formerly momontheverge)

  • Temple Grandin is so incredible and she gives me great hope for the future. I read Animals In Translation and loved it, found it quite insightful. How great it must have been to go see her speak.


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