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Temple Grandin recognized in Colorado General Assembly on World Autism Awareness Day

April 3, 2013
by Coleman Cornelius

Timed to World Autism Awareness Day on Tuesday, Temple Grandin of Colorado State University was recognized on the floor of the Colorado House of Representatives and the Colorado Senate for using insights gained from her autism to design humane livestock-handling systems that have revolutionized the agricultural industry.

Temple Grandin, a CSU professor of livestock behavior and handling, works with a student on a corral design.State Sen. Irene Aguilar of Denver, a physician and chair of the Senate Health and Human Services Committee,  delivered a joint Senate-House tribute on Tuesday morning. The tribute was repeated in the House by state Rep. Dianne Primavera of Broomfield, a vocational counselor and chair of the House Public Health Care and Human Services Committee.

'Stellar example'

“Dr. Temple Grandin’s career has provided the global community with a stellar example of the irreplaceable value that people with autism can add to the workplace through their unique perspective and approach, with Temple Grandin proving that thinking in pictures and envisioning a perspective that others do not is a priceless advantage,” a draft of the tribute read, in part.

Grandin and her mother, Eustacia Cutler, work together to support families coping with autism.Grandin, a professor in the CSU Department of Animal Sciences, was not present in the Colorado General Assembly when she is recognized. Instead, she was on the Fort Collins campus teaching undergraduate students in her livestock handling class – a commitment Grandin doesn’t miss, despite her demanding travel schedule.

World Autism Awareness Day

She was a keynote speaker at an event in Denver the evening of 2013 World Autism Awareness Day. Called “The ‘A’ Typical Business Model: Capitalizing on Autism as a Competitive Advantage,” the event is a fund-raiser for an international nonprofit called Specialisterne.

The fund-raiser helped establish a Specialisterne office in Denver. The organization, founded in Denmark, is an information technology consulting firm that employs people with autism and advocates for the hiring of qualified candidates with the condition.

Grandin has built her career working at Colorado State University and is renowned for work on farm-animal welfare. The concept is a favorite theme for Grandin, who notes in public talks that people on the autism spectrum often are uniquely talented, and children should be encouraged to gain the social skills that will allow them to enter and excel in the workplace. The philosophy is captured in her oft-repeated comment that “the world needs all kinds of minds.”

100 Most Influential People in the World

Grandin has been well-known as a pioneer in the livestock industry for many years, and has gained wider fame since 2010, when HBO released an acclaimed biopic, called “Temple Grandin,” based on her life and early career. The same year, TIME magazine named her one of its “100 Most Influential People in the World.” She also is world-renowned as a hero for people with autism and their families.

Also recognized by the Colorado General Assembly on World Autism Awareness Day will be a Colorado boy with autism and the founder of Specialisterne.