Introduction

Temple, pictured here with ARI founder Bernard Rimland, Ph.D. – the bearded gentleman to her immediate right.

I am a 44-year old autistic woman who has a successful international career designing livestock equipment. I completed my Ph.D. in Animal Science at the University of Illinois in Urbana and I am now an Assistant Professor of Animal Science at Colorado State University. Early intervention at age 2 1/2 helped me overcome my handicap.

Two of the subjects covered in this chapter are the frustration of not being able to speak and sensory problems. My senses were oversensitive to loud noise and touch. Loud noise hurt my ears and I withdrew from touch to avoid over-whelming sensation.

I built a squeezing machine which helped me to calm my nerves and to tolerate touching. At puberty, horrible anxiety “nerve” attacks started and they became worse with age. Antidepressant medication relieved the anxiety. In the last section of the chapter directing my fixations into constructive activities and a career will be discussed along with the importance of a mentor. My skill and deficit areas are covered in detail. All my thinking is visual, like videos played in my imagination. Even abstract concepts such as getting along with other people are visualized through the use of door imagery.

Lack of Speech

Not being able to speak was utter frustration. If adults spoke directly to me I could understand everything they said, but I could not get my words out. It was like a big stutter. If I was placed in a slight stress situation, words would sometimes overcome the barrier and come out. My speech therapist knew how to intrude into my world. She would hold me by my chin and made me look in her eyes and say “ball.” At ag