The Superstar Of Autism

If you’ve ever spent much time in the world of autism you’ve probably come across the name Temple Grandin. She’s a college professor with a Ph.D. in animal science. She’s a best-selling author, lecturer and respected authority in animal behavior. HBO made a movie about her.

She also has autism.

Ms. Grandin was a guest speaker last night at Lindenwood University. The Wife thought we should get there early, early but I didn’t see the need. How many people are going to show up to see Temple Grandin? It’s not like it’s Claire Danes. Besides, it’s one thing to ask The Son to sit still for an hour lecture, but adding an hour or more of sitting around waiting for it to start? No thanks.

The lecture was to start at 7 p.m. We left the house a little after 6. It’s only a couple miles from the house. We pull onto the street in front of the theater, ready to make a left turn into the parking lot and there’s A LINE OF CARS AS FAR AS THE EYE CAN SEE.

“Did they cancel the Temple Grandin lecture and replace it with a Lady GaGa show?”

“I told you we should’ve got here earlier.”

There was no way we were going to be able to turn left into the lot, so I drove around the block (cursing all the way) and we parked in the strip mall down the street and walked. It was a nice night, so not a big deal. We get to the theater and there is a line — a line stretching the length of the theater then doubling back around itself. And then some.

Dear lord. Just how many autistic people are in St. Louis? I’m confident there were more people who turned out to see Temple Grandin that showed up at the recent Santorum or Ron Paul rallies. It had to be the largest crowd to ever show up at the Scheidegger Center. And I’m sure Chris will be along shortly in the comments section to confirm or deny that.

We get in line, fully aware that we’re wasting our time, but it was a nice night and what else did we have to do? We saw some people we knew in line, and before we got halfway through to the door we were informed that the theater was full as well as the two adjacent spill-over rooms. People were now being directed to other locations on campus where we could watch the speech on a big screen.

We left. If I want to watch Temple on video, I’m sure she’s somewhere on YouTube.

Got home, poured myself a Coke, stole some of The Son’s birthday candy, plopped down on the couch, turned on the television and watched the lecture on Lindenwood University’s television channel — all while playing Tetris and checking e-mail.

All told, a much better way of dealing with it. The Son didn’t have to sit still for hours, I could put my feet up (which I’m assuming would not have been appreciated by whoever would have been sitting in front of me in the theater) and I didn’t have to deal with crowds and traffic when leaving.

The lecture was very entertaining and informative. I guess it’s a good thing that so many people were interested enough to show up. I just wish they’d shown up after I got there.


5 responses to “The Superstar Of Autism

  1. I saw/heard her speak at Drury a few months ago. Love that woman!

  2. I heard/saw her speak a few months ago at Drury. Love that woman!

  3. Have to admit my ignorance here. Never heard of her…
    Thanks for enlightening me!

  4. I was disappointed last year when Meredith’s ag teacher had not heard of Grandin’s work. It further confirmed my suspicion that he is sexist. I’m pretty sure had a man influenced animal science/agribusiness/food production as Grandin has, those ag students would have known about it.

  5. Thanks, Ronnie. You are correct that this event was the largest ever at the Scheidegger center, filling the 1,200-seat Bezemes Family Theater, as well as more than 1,000 seats in the various overflow locations on campus. Granted, several ticketed events there have sold out in the past, but I don’t think anyone would argue that the response to this event was phenomenal. The lecture with her slide show added will be broadcast on LUTV six times over the next two weeks, starting 7 p.m. March 15. Go to this link for details.

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