Temple Grandin: The World Needs All Kinds of Minds

Some quotes from the talk:

“Some of the research now is showing is that people on the (autistic) spectrum actually think with primary visual cortex. Now, the thing is, the visual thinker’s just one kind of mind. You see, the autistic mind tends to be a specialist mind — good at one thing, bad at something else. And where I was bad was algebra. And I was never allowed to take geometry or trig. Gigantic mistake: I’m finding a lot of kids who need to skip algebra,go right to geometry and trig.”

“Now, another kind of mind is the pattern thinker. More abstract. These are your engineers, your computer programmers. Now, this is pattern thinking.┬áHere are the types of thinking: photo-realistic visual thinkers, like me; pattern thinkers, music and math minds. Some of these oftentimes have problems with reading. You also will see these kind of problems with kids that are dyslexic. You’ll see these different kinds of minds. And then there’s a verbal mind, they know every fact about everything.”

“Now, the animal mind, and also my mind, puts sensory-based informationinto categories. Man on a horse and a man on the ground — that is viewed as two totally different things. You see, it’s a different picture. I want you to think about just how specific this is.”

“But then you get the smart, geeky kids that have a touch of autism, and that’s where you’ve got to get them turned on with doing interesting things. I got social interaction through shared interest. I rode horses with other kids, I made model rockets with other kids, did electronics lab with other kids, and in the ’60s, it was gluing mirrors onto a rubber membrane on a speaker to make a light show.”

“Now, the thing is, the world is going to need all of the different kinds of minds to work together. We’ve got to work on developing all these different kinds of minds. And one of the things that is driving me really crazy, as I travel around and I do autism meetings, is I’m seeing a lot of smart, geeky, nerdy kids, and they just aren’t very social, and nobody’s working on developing their interest in something like science.”


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