Temple Grandin’s Tips For Staying At Home

April 17, 2020
CSU professor Temple Grandin.CSU professor Temple Grandin.(Courtesy Rosalie Winard)
CSU professor Temple Grandin.

What should parents of children with autism keep in mind during the stay at home order? Routine for one, says renowned CSU professor Temple Grandin, who has autism. 

“Make a new schedule,” she said. “One of the things that's really helped me and made me feel a whole lot better as I get up in the morning is I get dressed and I'm ready for work at eight o’clock — not sitting around in my pajamas. We're going to have to create a new schedule. We're going to get up, get dressed for (online) school.”

It’s solid advice for neurotypical kids, too, and even adults. With families spending a lot of time together inside, Grandin suggests children look up videos of life on The International Space Station (whose crew just returned to Earth).

“How do they use the toilet? Sleeping, eating, dealing with the garbage. It's tight quarters and they have to get along,” Grandin said.

Learning, Grandin explained, can be an antidote to fear. As an animal scientist, it’s something she’s observed in livestock as well as people.

“Basically fear is a big emotion, but another big emotion is ‘seek’ — the urge to explore,” she said.

Think of a strange object in front of a horse, like an umbrella opening, she explained. The horse gets afraid of that.

“But if you took that same umbrella, and you just set it in the middle of a field, the horse will walk up to it because he's approaching it on his own," Grandin said. "So you turn on the seeking system that helps to shut off fear.”