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Claire Danes and Temple Grandin on Autism and thinking differently

Posted Feb 05 2010 6:00pm

“My visual thinking gives me the ability to ‘test-run’ in my head a piece of equipment I’ve designedjust like a virtual reality computer system.” Temple GrandinPhD

She is portrayed by Claire Danes in a new HBO movie “Temple Grandin.”

From post: HBO’s Autistic Heroby Jace Lacob :

“Playing somebody who is wired in a fundamentally different way is very hardand there are obvious limitations that will always be in place,” said Danes.

“I can’t change the way my brain works… I had to be so hyper-vigilant while playing her because she wouldn’t take anything for granted.

“She feltespecially in the earlier yearsgreat social anxiety and panic. Temple explained to me that every time she walked in to a new room it’s like there would be snakes on the floor.

“The possibility of danger was incredibly acute. I found [it] very exhausting to be just so guarded and so prepared for catastrophe all the time.”

The article continues: “Ask Grandin what she thinks of Danes’ performance and she gushes. “Ohbrilliantbrilliant,” said Grandin. “Watching her was like going into a weird ’60s and ’70s time machine.”

“The film is a labor of love for executive producer Emily Gerson Sainesherself the mother of an autistic child… The movie is filled with optical illusionsvisual patternsand literal sight gagsall based on the way that Grandin herself processes information.”

“I attempted to show the quicksilver nature of her thinkingwhere she makes visual associations,” Director Mick Jackson said. “She can memorize the page of a French textbook even though she doesn’t speak French very well. She can memorize things she saw long ago and make connections between those and things she has just seen.”

Temple GrandinPhD on visual thinking :

Different Types of Thinking in Autism

Recent studies on the brainand especially the brains of people diagnosed with autism spectrum disorders (ASD)are shedding light on the physiological underpinnings of our thoughts and emotions.

We are gaining a better understanding of how neuropathways are formed and the extent to which biology influences behavior.

When I was much youngerI assumed that everybody perceived the world the same way I didthat everybody thought in pictures.

Early in my professional career I got into a heated verbal argument with an engineer at a meat-packing plant when I told him he was stupid.

He had designed a piece of equipment that had obvious flaws to me. My visual thinking gives me the ability to ‘test-run’ in my head a piece of equipment I’ve designedjust like a virtual reality computer system.

Mistakes can be found prior to construction when I do this. Now I realize his problem was not stupidity; it was a lack of visual thinking. It took me years to learn that the majority of people cannot do thisand that visualization skills in some people are almost nonexistent.

All minds of the autism spectrum are detail-orientedbut how they specialize varies. By questioning many people both on and off the spectrumI have learned that there are three different types of specialized thinking:

1. Visual thinking – Thinking in Pictureslike mine
2. Music and Math thinking
3. Verbal logic thinking

> See the rest of her essay Autism – The Way I See It.

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Related:

Books by Temple Grandin Ph.D. :

Related post: Savant abilities and learning differences relate to developing multiple talents – Daniel Tammet is able to recite 22,514 digits of pi from memory. An author with autistic savant syndromehe thinks such astounding abilities are not due to some cerebral or genetic flukebut based on an associative form of thinking and imagination.

Article: Is There A Little Rain Man In Each Of Us?by Darold TreffertMD.

More quotesbooks etc about dyslexiaautismvisual-spatial learning etc and creative talent on the page Learning differences.

learning differencesautismautism booksautism and creativitycharacteristics of autismautism spectrum disorders


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