Christian Long

Temple Grandin: The World Needs All Kinds of Minds

In TED Talks on April 11, 2010 at 9:02 pm

Reflection by DEREK M.

Original TED page w/ speaker bio, links, comments, etc:

Temple Grandin:  The World Needs All Kinds of Minds

“The World Needs All Kinds of Minds,” by Temple Grandin, is an inspiring video showing the differences and similarities between the autistic and the average mind. Autistic minds frequently have the capacity to see with specific pictures and process visually, whereas the average person typically sees pictures in general terms. This video shows how the world can manifest the brilliant minds autistic population and allow them to contribute beneficially to society. Most Autistic people are efficient workers with abilities that are capable of some tasks that an average human would not have the capacity, or even the capability to do.

It’s all about the details. Without people like Temple Grandin, Autistic minds may not have revolutionized society in the way that they have. Temple does an amazing job giving insight into the mind of an autistic individual, while also inspiring others to work as hard as possible to achieve great things.

“Visual thinking has been a huge asset in my career designing livestock facilities.”

Visual thinkers are capable of seeing things before they are put into action. They provide the ability to see the obstacles and the problems with designs before they are ever put into action. The world relies on people from this spectrum. Visual thinkers have built our society and allow the world to function properly. Temple has had a successful career based on her ability to see the problems in the details in her mind before they were ever created. Her attention to detail often provides a second view on projects before implementation, saving the cost of fixing projects gone astray.

A commonality between the average autistic minds is considering the strengths and weaknesses of their minds. Autistic people generally are not as well rounded as most. Take Albert Einstein for example. His scientific capabilities were superior, whereas his social skills and English were below average. Autistic minds are typically fixated. However, it is this ability to focus or thrive in one subject matter that makes the most specialized people in the world today. If everyone was well rounded, but there was no extraordinary prowess, where would the world be today? The word remarkable would not even exist because everything would be ordinary. Different types of minds provide the diversity that the world needs to function.

Generally in the minds of autistic people and animals, different images are processed and separated based on how the perspective is relative to the beholder. For example, Temple explains, “Cattle perceive a man on a horse and a man on foot as two different things.” It is the same with autistic people. The cattle have a need to be familiar with both, just as an autistic person would require.

“We’ve got to think about all these different kinds of minds. And we’ve got to absolutely work with these kinds of minds, because we absolutely are going to need these kinds of people in the future.”

Temple conveys all of the different types of minds including pattern thinkers, and verbal thinkers, both of which require different methods of teaching than the visual thinkers. Temple is often frustrated by the standardized method of teaching children. All children need to be taught in different ways. The teachers should focus on the interests and strengths of the child to strengthen their weaknesses, while also bolstering their strengths. For example, if a child likes race cars, do math problems with race cars in them. Simple details can completely alter how a child can perceive lessons and retain the information for future experiences.

“Mentors are essential.”

A simple mentor always motivates children to do their best and Temple sees the benefits of her mentor everyday. He motivated her to try harder, to work harder, and to ultimately become successful.

“If by some magic, autism had been eradicated from the face of the Earth, then men would still be socializing in front of a wood fire at the entrance to a cave.”

Whether a person is ‘normal’ or autistic, the world has all kinds of minds. From the visual thinkers to the pattern thinkers, all the way to the verbal thinkers, the world has all kinds of minds. It is through this diversity that the world succeeds. Therefore, the world needs to recognize the present situation and help motivate all of these different types of thinkers and establish a system where all types of minds succeed, including the autistic ones. Some of the most successful people in the world are autistic and are successful because they used their strengths to their advantage. It is through this person to person basis that the world will move forward, allowing the world to manifest the diversity of the brain and the individuals that come with it.

If you were interested in this video you might want to see the breakdown of the brain and how it works at the following link:


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