Dr. Temple Grandin, the leading autism advocate in the world has many quotes that have resonated with me over the years such as “Different not less,” “The world needs all kinds of minds,” and “There needs to be a lot more emphasis on what a child can do instead of what he cannot do.”
The quote that I enjoy the most though is the one she said at a conference I keynoted with her at Memphis University in 2014. She was talking about the impact that technology can have on people with autism in their careers. Than she said something that really got me thinking…
“Half of Silicon Valley has autism.”
I wondered if she ever referred to this in the past so I looked it up and saw another piece about in the Mercury news where she said in a phone interview that ‘Half of Silicon Valley’s got mild autism’.
Now there has never been a study that’s looked into it but it really is intriguing. The people who are in Silicon Valley are some of the brightest minds in the world but sometimes have difficulty with communication and social interaction. My high school mentees who are on the autism spectrum are the perfect example. They LOVE technology. Many of them though have embraced technology for a living and hope to one day turn it into very promising careers.
If we look deeper into it think about how many children with autism you know who have embraced iPads and others who have progressed through assistive technology. Along with the impact of technology this quote from Dr. Grandin reminded me of how broad the spectrum can be.
As someone on the spectrum I’ve embraced many different types of technologies to help me today. My iPad is where I read most of my books and my laptop has given me the ability to focus on graphic design along with my work on my blog and websites.
Now I’m not saying technology will be an avenue for everyone on the spectrum. Autism is not a one-size-fits-all disorder. I’m blessed to have been given the opportunity to meet someone like Dr. Grandin several times and learn from here. I hope to continue to educate our community like she has for years to come.