Dr. Temple Grandin, a famed expert in animal science despite being autistic, has dignified and improved the lives of millions of autistic people.
Grandin is now a university professor, a bestselling author and a consultant to the livestock industry. She is considered to be a leader in both animal welfare and autism advocacy.
"Every person can find something that they are good at, and learn a skill that would make them a value to others, " Dr. Grandin told a sold-out crowd in Royce Hall at UCLA.
A noted advocate for autism research and understanding, she invented the "hug machine,"
designed to comfort hypersensitive people.
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She was listed in the TIME magazine 2010 list of the 100 most influential people in the world.
Millions of people who didn't know about her, were introduced to her amazing life, through a recent HBO movie called "Temple Grandin." Actress Claire Danes, who portrayed Grandin, won an Emmy and a Golden Globe for her performance.
Based on her own personal experience, Grandin advocates early intervention to address autism.
"Expose your children to many things, so they can find something that they are good at," she told the admiring audience at UCLA this week.
Dr. Grandin spoke at the "Open Mind" event, sponsored by the Friends of the Semel Institute, an organization dedicated to increasing awareness about, and reducing the stigma that is often attached to mental and neurological disorders.