LEESBURG, Fla. (April 15, 2021) – World-renowned scientist, author and speaker, Dr. Temple Grandin, will be recognized as Beacon College’s Difference Maker in the April episode of “A World of Difference,” airing during Autism Awareness Month.
The television series is produced by Beacon College and celebrates and supports those with learning and developmental disabilities such as ADHD, dyslexia and autism. The College was the first in the nation accredited to award bachelor’s degrees exclusively to students with learning disabilities, ADHD and other learning differences.
Though not diagnosed with autism until adulthood, as a child Grandin quickly learned that she processed things differently than her neurotypical classmates – only developing speech skills when she was nearly four years old. Drawn to STEM-related activities like electronics and rocketry, she was encouraged to pursue a career as a scientist by her peers and former teacher and mentor, William Carlock.
Together, they built the “hug box,” a squeeze machine that simulated a human hug, and which helped to nurture comfortability with physical touch, a recurring challenge for those on the autism spectrum. Motivated by the success of the device, Grandin went on to earn her bachelor’s degree in human psychology and master’s and doctoral degrees in animal science. She has since authored over 60 peer-reviewed scientific papers on animal behavior. Half the cattle in the United States today are handled in facilities she designed.
As the number of children diagnosed with autism rises nationally, Grandin continues to share her message about the disorder and “differently abled brains.” Through various speaking engagements, published works and more, she warns of the harmful effects that generalized education, academic and social standards have on a child’s identity and development. Her understanding of the human mind has aided her in her work with animal behavior, cementing her as one of the most respected global experts in both autism and animal behavior. And while much of her life’s work has been to understand her own autistic mind, her goal remains to better the treatment of neurodiverse individuals like her.
“A World of Difference” episodes examine neurodiversity issues related to learning disabilities experienced from birth to adult years, using compelling storytelling, conversations with experts, viewer Q&As and interviews with successful individuals with learning differences of their own. In each episode, the Difference Maker Award is bestowed upon an individual who has, as the name of the award denotes, made a difference for the learning differences community.
To learn more about “A World of Difference” or watch the latest episode (airing April 25 and available online shortly after), visit www.AWODTV.org.
About Beacon College
Founded in 1989, Beacon College was the first college in the country accredited to award bachelor’s degrees exclusively to students with learning disabilities, ADHD and other learning differences. The College is committed to student success, offering academic and personal support services that help each student achieve their goals. Set in the hometown environment of Leesburg, Florida, amid beautiful lakes and close to Central Florida area attractions, students are able to experience community living within easy reach of the resources they need to flourish academically, professionally and socially. To learn more, visit www.beaconcollege.edu.