Episode #78 Navigating Autism with Dr. Debra Moore & Dr. Temple Grandin

Share this episode:

Get Notified When New Episodes Are Released


 Dr. Temple Grandin is a professor of Animal Science at Colorado State University. She had no language until age four and good teachers and her mother helped her develop her strengths. She has a successful career as both a designer of livestock handling systems and as a scientific researcher. She also lectures widely on her experiences with autism.

Dr. Debra Moore is a psychologist who has worked with many autistic clients and their families. She was the Founder of Fall Creek Counseling Associates in Northern California, where she mentored psychologists-in-training and developed specialized services in autism. She and Dr. Grandin co-authored The Loving Push: How Parents and Professionals Can Help Spectrum Kids Become Successful Adults in 2016.

Temple and Debra have recently co-authored Navigating Autism: 9 Mindsets for Helping Kids on the Spectrum, which was release in September 2021 and can now be ordered on Amazon.

Automatic Transcription from Otter.ai

parent, people, kids, exposed, video games, autistic, child, today, autism, game, tasha, addicted, ranch, early, thinkers, spectrum, find, moore, book, airplane

Okay, all right. I did continue. My clicked on Continue. Thank you everyone. Welcome back to another episode of autism and action podcast. Today we have got some very special guests for you. We've got this, Deborah Moore, Dr. Moore. And we have got Dr. Temple Grandin, thank you so much for taking time to be here today. It's great to be here with Debbie here. Thank you so much.

Well, Dr. Moore and Dr. Grandin, again, thank you so much for being here. I think I'd like to start by asking you what are some of the current projects you're working on?

Well, I've been getting a lot of writing done something I've had time to do during COVID. And now things are opening up. I've now been on my fourth on airplane trip, packed solid airplanes. I wasn't going to fly until I was fully vaccinated after three weeks after my second Pfizer shot, which I'm very, very happy to have on. But for a year, I was grounded, I could not fly. I didn't even go to Denver, I went to a few places out livestock places out in eastern Colorado. And the thing that I found that helped me was get up every morning, dressed for work by seven o'clock showered, let the shower run on my face. And I found that I felt better when I came out of that shower after a run on my face than when I went into it. And I found that was really important. Every morning, get up, get ready for work. And I kind of took some of the advice that NASA uses a space station, they get them up every morning. They have a schedule, they have their work, they got to do that the midday mail, they all have to go to the midday meal. And they also have a scheduled time off. One of the mistakes that was made originally is they didn't give them time off. And that's something that's helped me every morning gotta get up. And I have stuff to do.

Temple and I were talking yesterday about how board is so a gavel your phrase if you don't have a routine.

Your connections really weak Deborah, you may have to turn your video off. Alright, right. Can you see me too? This gonna be an audio only podcast? It can be if we need to. I think it goes Deborah's phrasing. Yes. Yeah. Okay. There were I think you're back now. There we go. Okay. Okay. I'm sorry, I'm out in the country. That's okay. We'll wing it. Yeah, what do you have to try to do not move? Because when you move that puts more load on the connection. Okay.

So anyway, I was saying that temple and I were talking yesterday about how boredom is just the enemy of all of us. And lack of structure as well. The temple is talking about getting up the same time every morning, having routines. And that's one of the things that we've been writing about. In our new book, navigating autism. We talked about how important in order to bring out the potential of kids. They have to have that have their interest and we have to be responsible for exposing them to those things so that they can find out what they're interested in and then giving them step by step guidance in those activities. Well, a lot

of kids today don't get enough exposure. And one of the worst things the schools have done is take out all the hands on classes, theater, music, art, sewing, woodworking, cooking, auto mechanic, sun, metalworking, and welding. Because we take those classes out, well, no child doesn't get a chance. Well, maybe I love theater. I love being a school play, or loved woodworking. And these are things that can turn into careers. And I have found that for a lot of individuals on what they were supposed to help determine their their career. I came from a non cattle background. A non livestock background I got exposed to cattle as a teenager, had been exposed to catalyst certainly would not have been in the cattle industry, that's for sure. That exposure is very, very important.

I was exposed to a book about psychology very early on by my babysitter who was taking it in high school. I would have never ever ended up in this career.

But that shows just how something like a single book. Yes, me it was visiting my aunt's ranch. Yeah, you know how these experiences are just, you know, so important.

Yeah, one of the things Tasha, you and I had talked about is that there are formal programs but then we can't forget that there are informal ways. Absolutely.

I think too often people just will look, I call it the front door, whether it's to a job or whatever, too much looking at the front door, when half of all good jobs that lead to careers for everybody, our back door, where you kind of fell into something or a friend knew somebody, I just recently learned about a person on the autism spectrum who's doing extremely well working in a food safety lab. And they're in charge of the samples when they come in making sure they're prepared properly. They love them. And it was just informal contacts. Yeah, it was total backdoor. And if you sort of just keep your radar out for these things, you'll find them. problem is these doors to the backdoor are there, but people don't see them.

I think a lot of times, we have to have the courage to ask. Right? in our community, there's probably a lot more support. If we were to ask

looking. That's right. And, and the big problem I'm seeing with students that flunk out of college, is they don't ask for help soon enough. And this is prime students with some kind of a disability or just regular students, I failed my first math test. I asked for help. I got tutoring, I had to be tutored in every college math class I took, I asked for help after I failed the first quiz. I can't emphasize how important that was.

And that's really important to teach kids early how to ask because that initiative that particular executive functioning is not always naturally very strong. So it takes practice over and over and over. So you help a young child learn to ask for things like directions for you make up situations, ask for something from a waitress in the restaurant, so that by the time they get to college, the idea of asking for something isn't brand new?

Well, in asking for reasonable things, you know, there's a little thing but guys don't ask for directions. Well, when we were out doing some big meat plant visits with a client sort of been 20 years ago, before GPS, we went over 100 miles out of the way trying to find all these plants, because he wouldn't ask for directions. And I knew where the plant was. And you didn't say anything? I did. I said I know we we go up this highway and then go north on this highway and we'll get to it.

It's almost like there's a tipping point. We're okay. All right. I've gotten to the point where I mean, I'm already an hour late and bicycle and ride. He's that kind of the way you see it? Well,

I'd like to not be an hour late. And you know, it was just ridiculous. And we were real late. Yeah.

With asking for support, who would what would your number one advice be to parents looking for support in their own community?

Well, just your will your work. Group your social groups, it could be young. I'm just any kind of contact is my job was got none. On well back to food safety job, which is brand new and going on right now. I it was their housekeepers kid. That's what it was. Okay, just the most informal kind of fun, and she's working now for this individual working now for a very, very good food safety lab. Yeah. And that total back door, and then they took the time to train the person takes a longer trip, but they love them because they'll see someone and they'll see something wrong with the sample. And, and nicolino this sample wasn't prepared, right when they sent it by FedEx. What, uh, what about those

parents, you know, we parents get into their own perspective, and they forget how other opportunities may be out there. And so if you ask your neighbor, you, you ask somebody at church, you ask another parent, that's right. They they may think of something that you would it would never occur to you?

Well, I've brought this up at meetings, and then I don't want to be on a lecture and then during the break, they got together, right? People just done Alaska parent about getting their kid a job. I don't know how many times they'll say we're thinking about I don't want to think about it. One of the things I learned from 25 years in working with construction industry, we had to get stuff built, make it work on his is you got to get it done. And you can't just think about it. And so I'll ask the parent well, who do you know that owns a store? And I don't know how many times They've said, I don't know anybody owns a store, go wait a minute you go shopping? Where do you buy groceries? Yeah, where do you, you know, go to the bank, I mean, just whatever, like local gas station, people that you interact with. And then I finally push it a bit, and they go, Oh, there's a little gift shop over here, or a florist shop, you know, something like that. I, they, they get locked into just going to an agency, you know, some very, very formal front door. Yes. And my going to the ranch was just sort of an accident. My mother got remarried when I was 14. And that brought the ranch into the family because it was my stepfather, sister. That's just luck. And that ended up on the oil changing career path. I originally wanted to be an experimental psychologists who study optical illusions. And some of the work I did an optical optical illusions helped with some making me look at what cattle were seeing, which at the time was real, you know, real, radical idea that shadows would make cattle refuse to walk through a facility. But people just don't look enough at it, what's around them. So we live out in the country, there's nothing I go home at this more than what you think. You know,

I was saying earlier that I'm out in the country, and sparsely populated area, but we have an animal shelter, you know, and we've now got several young teenagers on the spectrum who are coming in, and with their parent, doing a shift, changing the litter boxes, the cats, they go through a checklist, and it's fantastic training is just as valuable as something that you might pay some pretty big bucks to a agency and a licensed person to teach those very same skills sometimes.

I mean, when I when I was out working in construction, I know several guys I worked with, and they were like bad boys in school, they probably are dyslexic or autistic. I'm going to estimate the 20% of the skilled trades people and very skilled drafting and machinery design people. We are autistic dyslexic or ADHD. I don't know how many of these kids this shop teacher turned around. Yeah.

No, and I think about these ideas of getting kids involved and having them experience stuff. What do you tell the parent? Or? Or what are what are some tips maybe you give parents for for kids who are addicted to video games, and

there's gonna have to wean them off when you call him off slowly. In fact, the kind of kid that's most likely to get addicted is a visual thinker like me. We're the worst on the video game addiction stuff, because you got the visual thinkers who are really good at art, but also very good with mechanical things. I know a guy who is autistic has 20 patents, owns a metal fabrication company. And there's been three successes where auto mechanics was used as the thing to get the video game addict off the video games. Well, that's an indicator. That's probably my kind of mind. I played a video game one time that I thought I'd played for 20 minutes. I've been on it for hours. I will not have that stuff on my computer. Now. Yeah, I've got to know what's in the latest video games, but I don't play them. I just look at the trailers on YouTube. So I can see what the game is about more than a nice gamer. really nasty game, I need to find that kind of stuff out. But they slowly weaned them off with car mechanics. And one of them now is working for the railroad, fixing trains and they love them. And you just will do it slowly. an hour. You do it slowly, because you always have to replace the video game with something else. And I'm not saying car mechanics is the perfect thing for everybody. Well, here's three video game addicts. And that's the thing. These are young adults badly addicted to video games, and this is what they use to wean them off. And one of them's got a very good job with the railroad now. You see, that's the kind of stuff you know, I like to say. And this is why I think it's so bad. They've taken out the shop classes, because my kind of mind is some of the worst attics. Now the kids are better. The word thinkers these are the kids that often love history. They love words and facts. They usually don't care about video games. It's more likely to be a visual thinkers like me, or maybe some of the mathematical thinkers that I'm more likely to get addicted to them. We've got to control the screen time. Absolutely.

That's that's really what people are saying that what you replace it with has to really click with that child you just want to let them go outside and play. They may have no interest in doing that. So it means that the parent has to take an extra step which is awesome, often kind of uncomfortable. For the parent, they have to go into unfamiliar territory and maybe go down to the local garage and meet the mechanic and see if he would like it come in. And that's where it stops sometimes is the parent doesn't take that, that step because its parents

got to take the step. Yeah, mother gave me a choice. And she had a very good knack for knowing just how much to push me. She gave me a choice because I was afraid to go to my aunt's ranch. And the choice was, I could go for a week and come back if I hated it, or stay all summer. Once I got out there. I loved it. She didn't not going you want to go

with her child or teen when they say I don't want to try that. If you give them a choice, like to give them a choice,

and, and I find I gotta push parents and I so i'm not i'm going to be kind of harsh. I mean, your kids going to end up in the basement unless you do something. And there were some people that pushed me. There's that scene in the movie, where the Bosch shoves the deodorant down on the table and says, You stink, use it, that scene happened. And at the time, I was very, very upset about that. I think that boss now I hygiene, that's one of the non negotiables you got to clean it up. I don't want to excuses on that.

So that is a lot of great wisdom. That's a lot of great insight. I think that our listeners are very much going to learn a lot from today's episode. And I'm so grateful that you guys have taken the time to be here. I did want to mention you, Dr. Moore, you had mentioned earlier, a new book coming out navigating autism. Did you guys want to share anything about that and how our listeners could get a look at that on Amazon to preorder? Thanks, Tasha.

This is our second project I'm honored to have written with temple before we wrote the loving push years ago, that's coming out a second edition, early next year. With with speaking of online gaming, with a chapter, a brand new chapter, specifically about online gaming, and the other brand new chapter is on preparing children for successful adulthood and vocational ideas, very specific ideas. But the new book is coming out September and navigating autism nine mindsets to whether you're a teacher or a therapist, occupational therapist, physical therapist or parent, anyone that if you look through these nine lenses, you can really bring out the potential in children and I believe it's on Amazon now as a pre order, but it's not available until September.

I want to bring up the fact that here's another very famous autistic person Ilan Musk, he came out and disclosed on Saturday Night Live. So I can talk about this now. And you see these yellow post it notes in here. Yeah, came out in 2013. That's where I marked this book, right when it first came out, where I thought he was on the spectrum as the same post notes. And I've always thought he was autistic. But I never dared say it. Now I can say it because he's disclosed. So let's look at some of the things that help with his success. Learning work skills really early was wonderful, exposed to a lot of things. He had a relative that did all kinds of wild things in airplane and he traveled extensively. He was kind of entrepreneurial of selling stuff when he was a kid. He didn't get addicted to video games, he wanted to sell them shop in a mall. And when they went to sign the lease, he was too young. Oh, and and the thing is, he's just old enough that the video games really crude because I looked up the trailers of the games he would have played with his age. And, and it was the old mariell stuff really chunky, and blocky and crude, not anywhere near as addictive. And the other thing that would have happened playing those games is computers crashed all the time. And then they showed screens full of code. I call that the computer showing there its guts. Now it just freezes and crashes. But it doesn't show anything you see and that's going to get a kid interested in what is all that code is behind the game. And, and you know, these were things were very early with him. That will hopefully also was a tremendous reader. The local bookstore allowed him to sit in the bookstore and read he read the entire Encyclopedia Britannica. just sucking up information. They love science fiction, and what he's doing right now he's fulfilling his childhood dreams. He's going to build a rocket to Mars. Absolutely amazing. History changing.

Yuan is so incredible because also because not only is the like an amazing engineer but he's, he's also like an expert, business person and expert, accountant. Like he can wear so many different hats simultaneously. I find that to be incredible.

Well, he's also got he's got this lady that works from and I read about one more hit launch pad at Cape Kennedy got trashed one of his experiments, and she had to go there and smooth over the bureaucracy.

Well, our time is nearing to the end, we've got a short 40 minute time limit on the recording, it won't let us go any further. So we will have to wrap up for today. I wanted to ask you if there's anything else that you would like to share with our listeners before we close?

Well, I want to get these kids get help them to be successful. The problem we got with autism is such a big spectrum you're going from Elon Musk made Einstein had no language till age three. Thomas Edison, probably Michelangelo to somebody can't dress themselves. And it's all got the same name. Yeah, that doesn't make very much sense. And I find the verbal thinkers get totally locked into that. Michelangelo was another one dropped out of school at age 12. He was exposed to art every church was commissioning art. Andy was also exposed to stone cutting tools. You see that was important. But Ivan as I moved back and forth between the worlds were losing skills. I just went to another port processing plant. I was checking all the equipment out brand new floor, new equipments, often Denmark, Holland, they had a really cool machine in Italy. That was packaging mate. Yeah, that gets back to our educational system, taken out the skilled trade stuff, very high end equipment from high wage kind of beautiful, mechanically complicated equipment. And we're not making it. I think we've got a problem there. And there's a connection. There's a connection, I was taking pictures of your machine rageous that'll be my next slide shoulder shove it down education throat. There's a connection here. The other thing I want to mention, you can go look at the Mars rovers. We've got our Mars Rover, China's got theirs, they take selfies of themselves. There's beautiful hand done wiring on those Mars rovers. Somebody did that in a shop, probably single person, maybe two people. It's mission critical. It needs to get the credit it deserves.

Absolutely. Well, Dr. Moore, is there anything else at all that you would like to share today, too?

I think tipo has summed it up beautifully. We need to expose the kids and that the sky.

Mars is the limp you've got a beacon that what you got to do is take your fixation and expand it because when I was a little kid, I just draw horseheads Well, they're encouraged me to draw other things. You take that fixation on a certain type of car expand to mathematics, with cars, physics of cars, design of cars, history of cars abroad, that fixation.

Absolutely. growing on those strings. Well, thank you so much for taking the time to be here today and share your words of wisdom and insight on the autism and action podcast. I can't wait for our listeners to check you guys out. And also you guys don't forget to go on Amazon check out that preorder, navigating autism nine mindsets for helping children on the spectrum. Thanks for what you do Tasha.

Well, thank you for having us on the show. And I just want to see these. You know the thing some of the stuff I've done in my career, it's been really fun. Some of my friends who shared interest some of the funnest stuff I ever did as we were sitting around trying to figure out how to build something. Well, the most fun stuff I've ever done. Thank you so much.

Let's Discuss!

Now, we would love to hear from you.

Do you have questions? Do you have ideas? Do you have an opinion? Do you think we missed something?

Let's have a discussion in the comments below or head over to the Autism in Action Facebook group. We would love to hear from you!

{"email":"Email address invalid","url":"Website address invalid","required":"Required field missing"}

Be Notified When New Podcast Episodes Are Released