For those of you who don’t know me my name is Carly Fleischmann. I am a 15 year old autistic girl who, as you can see and hear, has found her inner voice. I feel honoured and privileged to be introducing a woman that really needs no introduction, but don’t tell her that or I might be out of a job. Rumour has it I’m getting paid in chips. Yum yum. Let me go back to being serious for a moment. I have been doing a lot of research to prepare for Temple’s introduction and I couldn’t believe similarities we both seem to have. Just like me and many children with autism, Temple’s mother sat in the doctor’s office when Temple was a little girl and she was told that Temple had autism.
Templeâ€™s mother asked what caused the autism. The doctor responded with a response that many doctors told mothers up until 20 years ago. He looked right into Templeâ€™s motherâ€™s eyes and said it is caused from bad parenting and lack of love from the mother. Temple, like me, was nonverbal at the time and her mother, like my mother, could not accept the fact that her child would never be able to communicate. Temple, from that point on, went through an intense therapy program. It was not A.B.A. but some people would argue that it could be considered the first A.B.A. program ever made. With intense speech therapy, a nanny working non-stop on social skills and a mother with a will to educate her daughter, Temple was able to communicate. Even though Temple was
able to talk, it did not mean the fight for her was over. Temple, like me, was given an opportunity to attend school but challenges and skepticism lay around every corner. Temple was able to do what a lot of doctors and educators thought would be impossible. She graduated school with a PhD in animal science. She has gone on to write books on a variety of subjects including animals, social skills and of course, autism. Living with autism, myself, has been hard at times and the gains are great, but challenging to get to. However, being able to see someone who is able to walk a mile in the shoes Iâ€™m already wearing, gives me more than hope for myself and for the hundreds of thousands following with, and behind me.
I have to be honest with all of you here today. I usually am able to write a speech or a story in my head, and then type it out. However for this speech today, it has been a hard process for me. I thought it was because of my autism but I realized itâ€™s my admiration for Temple Grandin that made it so difficult. A wise man once said to dream of greatness is just the first step but actually attaining it is, like they say on tv, priceless. Most children my age would say that they look up to popstars, reality tv stars and sports stars but Iâ€™m proud to say the person I look up to is Temple Grandin. So without further adieu the woman who really needed no introduction, my idol, Temple Grandin.