Autism Seminar Notes Part 1

In March 2012, I saw Temple Grandin speaking at a seminar at the Hilton Hotel in Houston, Texas. She was an amazing orator. Here’s what I learned from her: 

Sensory processing disorder occurs with many other disorders (comorbid):

  • Autism spectrum
  • Dyslexia
  • Learning symptoms
  • ADHD
  • Asperger
  • Head injury
  • Oppositional defiant
  • Many others 




  • A good teacher is gently insistent
  • Early intervention essential
  • Minimum 20 hours weekly of one-to-one teaching 


A child blocks ears because certain sounds hurt. Certain sounds are tolerated when the child initiates them. Book recommendation: Little Rainman by Karen Simmons


  • A child needs to be motivated to keep learning new skills. 
  • Pushing too hard causes sensory overload and no progress. 
  • Never have sudden surprises. They cause fright and tantrums. 
  • Adults and teenagers must also be motivated to try new things and keep learning.  



Auditory Threshold Normal:

  • Hearing auditory detail is impaired
  • Stretch out and enunciate consonants
  • Hearing may be like a bad mobile phone connection 
  • Occurs with many disorders


Attention shifting slowness occurs with many disorders. It takes longer to shift back and forth between two different things. 


Signs of Visual Processing Problems:

  • Finger flicking near eyes
  • Tilts head when looking at things
  • Hates escalators (Personally, I don’t hate escalators) 
  • Hates fluorescent lights 
  • Difficulty catching a ball
  • Eye exams may be normal 



Interventions for Visual Processing Problems:

  • Incandescent lamp by desk
  • Block fluorescent lights with a hat
  • Laptop computer
  • Gray, tan, or pastel paper
  • Irlen lenses or pale-colored glasses
  • Balancing games-sit on ball
  • Prism glasses-Developmental Optometrist 



Severe Sensory Problems:

  • Background noise problems
  • Mono-channel
  • Body boundary problems 
  • Often an auditory thinker 
  • Best Book: How Can I Talk If My Lips Don’t Move: Inside My Autistic Mind by Tito Rajarshi Mukhopadhyay 


Scientists learned that:

  • Sensory problems are real
  • Immature lower brain areas
  • Abnormal circuits between different brain regions
  • Sensory problems are variable 
  • Many word-based tasks are processed in visual areas of the brain 
  • The frontal cortex is used less because it has missing circuits 

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