Temple Grandin is well known for her work regarding animal behavior in the livestock industry. She is also one of the most famous autistic activists in the world. Diagnosed at age 2, her mother Eustacia Cutler, who came to Kirksville recently as the keynote speaker at the 5th annual disABILITY Awareness Day, believes autism was always there, it just wasn't recognized.
"We called them retarded and we tucked them away in intuitions. We didn't know what it was neurologically. Temple when she was little she didn't speak she didn't play. I knew something was wrong. Temple has worked hard since the age of 2 and on to learn different things," Cutler said.
Cutler said life wasn't very easy for Grandin until she went to high school. At the school there was a farm with horses and it was there that Grandin discovered she had an interest in agriculture. At that same time, Grandin met a science teacher who gave her the inspiration to go to college and work in the ag industry. Cutler said that social interaction and friendship has helped Grandin come a long way.
"Looking back on Temple's life is all the people who helped her, who guided her, who supported her, and who taught me. We both had to learn along the road together. We're social creatures. We're dependent on each other to complete us," Cutler said.
Today, Grandin and her mother are now activists for the disorder that affects hundreds of children every year. They stand up for those families who need a voice.
"They need help and affection along the way. They can't do it alone. Nobody can do it alone," Cutler said.
Cutler also said no matter what we are and what we do, we never stop changing, growing, and learning.
"What is normal? Depends what you want to do. What makes character is experience because our genes change depending on external experience and external experience is us. We change all our life," Cutler said.
Click here to see Vanessa's full interview with Eustacia Cutler.