Temple Grandin Coming to Kent State as Part of disAbility Awareness Month
By Ellie Enselein
October is disAbility Awareness Month at Kent State University, and Student Accessibility Services is hosting several events to celebrate diversity and all abilities. The month’s events will conclude on Oct. 27 with a keynote address by Temple Grandin, Ph.D., who is recognized as one of the most accomplished persons with autism.
“DisAbility Awareness Month reminds us to focus on a person’s abilities, rather than what may be seen or perceived as a disability,” says Amy Quillin, director of Kent State’s Student Accessibility Services.
This week, events will take place for disAbility Awareness Month, including Defining (your)SELF, a student-led conversation about how diversity and identity intersect. The discussion will take place Monday, Oct. 17, in University Library’s Quiet Study Area from 4-6 p.m.
Love Your Body Day is on Oct. 19 and encourages students to post on social media using the hashtag #LoveYourBody and tag @KSU_dAM with what makes each student unique and to share photos.
Capping the monthlong celebration will be Grandin’s keynote. She will speak in the Kent Student Center Ballroom on Oct. 27 from 7-8:30 p.m. about her experiences and life, followed by a book signing. The event is free and open to the public, but attendees are required to have a wristband to attend the presentation. Wristbands will be available on the second floor of the Kent Student Center on Oct. 19 from 10 a.m.- noon. There will be limited wristbands available at the door. American Sign Language interpreters will be provided at the event.
“We are very honored and so excited to have Dr. Grandin as our keynote,” says Quillin. “She has been an unflagging advocate, particularly for those on the autism spectrum, and embodies the spirit of disAbility Awareness Month.”
Grandin is an animal scientist and autism self-advocate, known worldwide for her accomplishments. But people didn’t always believe in her; she didn’t speak until she was three and a half, previously only communicating through screams, fits and humming. She was diagnosed with autism in 1950, and doctors recommended she be institutionalized. As an adult, she shocked the world with her achievements because people believed autism meant an end to any chance for a successful life.
Now, Grandin has authored four books and produced several DVDs about living and working with autism. She is regarded as one of the best livestock-handling equipment designers in the world and has worked with companies like Burger King and McDonald’s about cattle handling. She has designed the facilities in which half of all of the cattle in the United States are held.
Currently, Grandin is a professor at Colorado State University, teaching animal science courses and traveling the country to speak at universities and events. She has been featured on television and in publications, from NBC’s “Today” show to Forbes.
Her current bestseller, The Way I See It: A Personal Look at Autism and Asperger’s, will be available in the Kent State University Bookstore all month, alongside her other books.