A life with autism: Temple Gradin to lecture

Millersville University is known for an intensive and comprehensive education program. And as I walked into my first education class four years ago, Cheryl Desmond’s words stuck with me as soon as I heard them: “People first language, always put your students first.” As I approach the ending of my career at Millersville as an Education Major, nothing could be more true. As I student teach and interact with students on a daily basis I am more than thankful for her kind and encouraging words. Students need encouragement and compassion, and that is just a gem of everything Millersville has taught me about education.

Millersville will open its doors to education pioneer Temple Grandin, on March 16. As an Education Major and, more importantly, as a student of a state-funded university, I strongly encourage every student from every major to attend this lecture. Grandin has a Doctorate in Animal Science and speaks frequently on the powerful connection between animals and autistic students (a population of which she was a part, during her own education). She made a name for herself representing the animal world and educational world on multiple levels.

Grandin is also known for inventing a machine that aides in the comfort of hypersensitive animals and people. She has written multiple texts including “Animals in Translation and The Way I See It: A Personal Look At Autism And Aspergers.” She makes students with autism and those educating students with autism understand the high-functioning lifestyle a student can adapt to when challenged. As a person with autism, she proves that it is possible to rise above any stereotype placed on them, and to do what Ghandi asked of us, to “be the change you wish to see in the world.”

This is the time for students at Millersville to educate themselves on the process of education but also to take advantage of a good, solid speaker. This opportunity is a once-in-a lifetime chance to see into the mind of an education professor with training and experiences that are unique. Last year, the Anna Funk Lockey Lecture hosted the controversial William Ayers. Many attended for the sheer scandal of the situation, so why not attend this year’s lecture and benefit from a woman who has challenged the status quo and become an intricate part of the world of education?

As student teaching comes to a close for me, I cannot think of a better way to end my semester then by attending this Anna Funk Lockey Lecture to absorb everything Temple Grandin has to contribute to my educational career. Millersville students should take time out of their busy days to seek the knowledge being presented.

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