Thursday, December 29, 2011

Can They Overcome?

Tonight on the game show Jeopardy - an answer, asking for the name of the condition Temple Grandin has "overcome".

Earlier this year - a newspaper article about Temple Grandin 63-year-old Temple, who (and I quote)" has not merely overcome her autism, but used her skills to change the face of the meat industry in America..."

A quick Google search reveals a number of articles that talk about Ms. Grandin  "overcoming" her autism.

It makes me mad.  Not at Temple Grandin, who I admire greatly. 

1.  Autism is part of what Temple Grandin is.  It is part of what my brother in law Bil is.  Ms. Grandin has faced many obstacles due to her autism, but some of her talents derive from that same autism.  It's my belief that there is a connection between autism in some people, and creativity - and yes, genius. (Google Albert Einstein and autism, and see what comes up.)
2.  Autism is a life long condition.  Temple is a visual thinker and has an excellent memory.  But she still has her underlying condition.  Her accomplishments are many.
3.  But she has not overcome.

What Temple Grandin has managed to do is work on many of the limitations her autism has given her (even as she uses the genius her autism has granted her).  She is a bridge between the world of Bil and the world of the neurotypical I belong to.

But at the end of the day....if she hadn't found commercial value in her talents...she may have been in the same boat as Bil finds himself.

The boat so many with autism find themselves in.  The boat of limited opportunity, of limited choices, of limited housing.

Sorry, Jeopardy.  She has not overcome.

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