Published May 18, 2011
If you’re looking at Wednesday’s front page of The Vindicator and asking “Who’s Temple Grandin,” then you’re missing out on one of America’s treasure stories, and you were not one of almost 3,000 people at Stambaugh Auditorium Tuesday night.
Temple Grandin, 63, is an author, animal scientist, college professor and lecturer.
She’s also autistic. While you can appreciate all of her other titles, they all become more magical when you learn about her neurological disorder.
And it’s that magic that has made her the Elvis of autism — with thousands of people clamoring to hear her words and buy her books.
Live on stage Tuesday night, she was simply Temple for more than an hour:
• Brilliant in demonstrating her revolutions in the cattle industry;
• Biting and critical of the treatment and methods used by doctors and families to treat autism;
• Hilarious as she offered one-liner after one-liner about the merged worlds of people with and without autism.
Consider how many speakers could have nearly 3,000 people laughing, outraged and applauding in agreement over and over. That was Temple last night at Stambaugh.
If you missed the show, but are intrigued by our story and whatever else you’ve heard today, get the movie that HBO did about her last year. Actress Claire Danes plays Temple in a role as convincing as any you’ve seen. It was up for 15 Emmys, and won five.
Equally magical to Temple was the effort of the Paula and Anthony Rich Center for the Study and Treatment of Autism.
On the campus of Youngstown State University, Rich is home to 75 autistic kids wrapped in the arms of a caring community that extends directly to President Anderson’s office. They knew the magic of Temple and the importance of bringing her to Youngstown. The importance was such, that the Rich community made it happen for free for the entire audience — “welcome to our world, free of charge.”
The starstruck event even closed with an Elvis-like moment when, during a Q&A session, an autistic boy, 10ish, stepped to the mic in front of the entire crowd and managed the words “I’ve been waiting to see you for a long time.”
“Ladies and gentleman ... Temple Grandin has left the building ...”