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Visual Thinking: Temple Grandin’s TED Talk and a Book List to Give You Perspective

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April is National Autism Awareness Month, and it’s worth it to take a minute to celebrate the innumerable ways people are unique. Animal behavior pioneer Temple Grandin has been an Autism advocate and activist for years, and in her talk from TED2010, she shares her distinctive outlook on the world. She breaks down the main ways people on the “continuum” of Autism can develop as thinkers, and expands on her own experience as a visual thinker. For Grandin, her visual thinking allowed her insights into detail-oriented problem solving that the people around her missed – and in this talk, she makes it clear that young people today on the Autism spectrum have just as much potential as she did. In…

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Actress Samantha Elisofon Talks Representation by Actors on the Autism Spectrum

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If you haven’t yet heard of Keep the Change, a love story written for and starring actors on the Autism spectrum, then I urge you to give this short film your full attention. It follows David (Brandon Polansky), a wealthy young man who meets a sheltered young woman, Sarah (Samantha Elisofon), at a support group. The two head off on a journey around New York City as they learn about each other and even themselves. Can David give up his “playboy” ways? And will Sarah get him to open up and see that “normal” may not be the only way to live. It’s beautiful, heartwarming and has won the Columbia University Film Festival’s Focus Features Best Film Award, as well as the Alumni Award,…

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