Two presentations by Temple Grandin offered at MJC

Modesto Junior College is pleased to offer two special presentations by Temple Grandin, Ph.D., professor, inventor, best-selling author and prominent speaker on both autism and animal behavior. 

The first presentation, targeted at the animal agriculture community, is “Understanding Animal Behavior“ on Tuesday, November 6 at 7 p.m. in the Agricultural Center for Education (ACE) Pavilion on West Campus, 2201 Blue Gum Avenue, Modesto.  Admission and campus parking are free.  Seating is limited!

The second engagement, “Calling All Minds: Educating Students Who Think Differently,“ is geared towards educators and the general public and scheduled for Wednesday, November 7 at 7:30 p.m. in the Performing and Media Arts Center Auditorium on East Campus, 435 College Avenue, Modesto.  This presentation is sold out, but you can find a live stream of the event here

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Wide selections of Grandin’s books are for sale at each event and a book signing opportunity follows each presentation. In addition to the two speeches, MJC’s Civic Engagement Project is offering a free screening of the HBO Emmy Award winning movie “Temple Grandin” on Thursday, November 1 at 7 p.m. in Forum 110 on East Campus.

Grandin, who is autistic, did not talk until she was three and a half years old, and doctors encouraged her mother to institutionalize her saying she would never amount to anything and would be a burden on her family. However, she was fortunate to get early speech therapy and was mainstreamed into a normal kindergarten at age five. 

Today Grandin is a renowned author and speaker on both autism and animal behavior, and a professor of Animal Science at Colorado State University.  She also has a successful career consulting on both livestock handling equipment design and animal welfare, and has published seven books about working with animals. She also changed the way the food industry processes animals to be more humane and minimize loss by understanding animal behavior. 

Grandin was featured on National Public Radio and in the British Broadcasting Channel special "The Woman Who Thinks Like a Cow."  She has also appeared on national television shows such as Larry King Live, 20/20, Sixty Minutes, Fox and Friends, and presented a 2010 TED talk. 

Articles about Dr. Grandin have appeared in Time Magazine, New York Times, Discover Magazine, Forbes and USA Today, and she was honored with induction into the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 2016.

One in 59 U.S. children is identified with an autism spectrum disorder. As the number of children diagnosed with autism continues to rise nationally, Grandin is sharing her message about the disorder and “differently-abled brains” with packed houses and has published 11 books about autism.  At the heart of that message is this: rigid academic and social expectations could wind up stifling a mind that, while it might struggle to conjugate a verb, could one day take us to distant stars.   
“Parents get so worried about the deficits that they don't build up the strengths, but those skills could turn into a job,” said Grandin, who addresses scientific advances in understanding autism in her newest book, “The Autistic Brain: Thinking Across the Spectrum.”

If a cure for autism were found, Grandin would choose to stay just the way she is. “The skills that people with autism bring to the table should be nurtured for their benefit and society’s,” Grandin said.  “I like the really logical way that I think.  I’m totally logical. In fact, it kind of blows my mind how irrational human beings are.  If you totally get rid of autism, you’d have nobody to fix your computer in the future.”

Oliver Sacks, who profiled Grandin in his bestselling book Anthropologist on Mars, wrote in the forward of Grandin’s Thinking in Picturesthat her first book “Emergence: Labeled Autistic”was “unprecedented because there had never before been an inside narrative of autism.” 

Additional information about Grandin’s published work and accomplishments is available at