Author Temple Grandin On Your Child's Purpose

What Parents Can Learn From Her Inspirational Story!

By Courtney Daly-Pavone January 23, 2019

If you ever run a marathon, you might be shocked that runners come in all sizes, ages and abilities.You might assume that some will not complete the 26.2 miles, but they will prove you wrong.  The old saying applies, it's not about the destination, but the journey. What motivates them? What did they learn while training? Did they vent stress and find Inspiration while getting in shape?  A marathon is a metaphor for life.  As your child grows you might ask yourself what is their purpose? Who will they become? What will lead them to their future career? 

Writer Joseph Campbell referred to finding your purpose as following your bliss!

“If you do follow your bliss you put yourself on a kind of track that has been there all the while, waiting for you, and the life that you ought to be living is the one you are living. Follow your bliss and don't be afraid, and doors will open where you didn't know they were going to be-”  Joseph Campbell

Temple Grandin on Helping Children of all Abilities Find Their Purpose 

Grandin is an industrial designer, animal behaviorist, professor at Colorado State University, and the author of several books.  Temple was born with autism, and was nonverbal and showed signs of severe autism.  How did she become a great communicator? She credits her mothers perseverance to engage her with others, plus great teachers and therapy to her success. As parents, we can all learn from Temple's story. It's inspirational and defies the odds. I spoke to Professor Grandin on how she found her purpose.  Her success in a number of fields is impressive, and sparks interest. It made me wonder what advice does she have for parents and their children?

MACARONI KID: Your story is an example of success, what advice would you give parents with helping kids of all abilities find their purpose?

TEMPLE GRANDIN: My ability in art was always encouraged.  It became evident in third grade.  Take a child’s interest and expand on it.  If a child likes cars, then use cars to teach reading, math, and science.  Learn about the science of how a car works.  Read about the history of cars.

What helped you find your career path?

I was exposed to the cattle industry at age 14. Students get interested In things they get exposed to.  I went into the cattle industry because I was exposed to it.

A lot of schools have taken hands on learning classes out of the classroom, why do you think this is a big mistake?

It was a BIG mistake to remove hands-on classes such as art, sewing, cooking, woodworking and auto shop from the schools.  In elementary school, art, sewing, and woodworking class were my salvation.

In regards to special needs, When a child is first diagnosed with an IEP a lot of parents act like it's a death sentence, how instead should they take the news?

An IEP can vary from something minor such as help with math to something more serious.  Teachers and parents JUST work together as a team. My mother and my  third grade teacher worked together.  The child has a better prognosis when the school and the parents are a team.

Can you recommend some informational resources, books, agencies that are helpful to parents of autistic children?

For young kids, my book The Way I See It may be helpful.  Other books I have authored are: Thinking in Pictures and The Autistic Brain.  Another tip – Join a local support group. Other parents will know where the best local resources are.

In 2010, HBO released an Emmy Award winning film on Grandin’s life. Watch the Trailer Here:

For More Information About Temple Grandin Visit:

Stay Informed  subscribe to Central San Diego Macaroni Kid It's Free!