Dr. Temple Grandin is a professor of Animal Science at Colorado State University and a prominent author and speaker on both autism and animal behavior. An outspoken advocate for the autistic community, she has been featured on NPR, the BBC, Larry King Live, 20/20, Sixty Minutes, Fox & Friends, and a 2010 TED talk. Articles about her have appeared in the New York Times, Time, Discover, Forbes and USA Today. HBO made an Emmy Award winning movie about her life. In 2016, she was inducted into the American Academy of Arts & Sciences.
18 Great Quotes by Temple Grandin
- ʺAutism is part of who I am.ʺ -Temple Grandin
- “I always find it kind of funny that normal people are always saying autistic children ‘live in their own little world.’ When you work with animals for a while you start to realize you can say the same thing about normal people. There’s a great big, beautiful world out there that a lot of normal folks are just barely taking in. Autistic people and animals are seeing a whole register of the visual world normal people can’t, or don’t.” – Temple Grandin
- “When I did stims such as dribbling sand through my fingers, it calmed me down. When I stimmed, sounds that hurt my ears stopped. Most kids with autism do these repetitive behaviors because it feels good in some way. It may counteract an overwhelming sensory environment . . . ” – Temple Grandin
- “In college I did a lot of talking out loud because it helped me organize my thinking. A lot of autistic people talk out loud for the same reason.” -Temple Grandin
- “The first thing an effective manager must do to take care of the animals is get rid of employees who are bullies.” – Temple Grandin
- “What would happen if the autism gene was eliminated from the gene pool? You would have a bunch of people standing around in a cave, chatting and socializing and not getting anything done.” – Temple Grandin
- “A good manager creates an environment that reinforces good behavior by employees. The basic principle is: Make the environment work for you not against you. Never leave up to willpower and self-discipline what you can do with the environment.” – Temple Grandin
- “I cannot emphasize enough the importance of a good teacher.” – Temple Grandin
- “I strongly recommend that students with autism get involved in special interest clubs in some of the areas they naturally excel at. Being with people who share your interests makes socializing easier.”
- “Visual thinkers of any species, animal or human, are detail-oriented. They see everything and they react to everything . . . Visual people feel horrible when little details in their visual environments are wrong, the same way animals do.” – Temple Grandin
- “We have got to work on keeping these children engaged with the world.” – Temple Grandin
- “The most important thing people did for me was to expose me to new things.” – Temple Grandin
- “Social thinking skills must be directly taught to children and adults with ASD. Doing so opens doors of social understandings in all areas of life.” – Temple Grandin
- “I wish more kids could ride horses today. People and animals are supposed to be together. We spent quite a long time evolving together, and we used to be partners.” – Temple Grandin
- “Autism is a kind of way station on the road from animals to humans, which puts autistic people like me in a perfect position to translate ‘animal talk’ into English. – Temple Gradin
- “Animals are like autistic savants . . . Animals have special talents normal people don’t, the same way autistic people have special talents normal people don’t . . . Normal people can stare straight at an animal doing something brilliant and have no idea what they’re seeing. Animal genius is invisible to the naked eye.” – Temple Grandin
- “My Advice is: You always have to keep persevering.” – Temple Grandin
- “I don’t want my thoughts to die with me, I want to have done something. I’m not interested in power, or piles of money. I want to leave something behind. I want to make a positive contribution – know that my life has meaning.” -Temple Grandin
> Visit www.templegrandin.com for more information about Temple Grandin.
April is Autism Awareness Month. We’re marking the occasion with a roundup of uplifting quotes that illuminate the unique experience of those on the autism spectrum and the people around them.
Some of these missives come from celebrities, book authors and parents of kids with autism. Some you may have heard already, and some you probably haven’t. But they’re all worth reading and remembering on World Autism Day, a day (April 2, 2019) set aside to raise awareness and understanding of autism.
1. “I am different, not less.”
—Temple Grandin, animal behavior expert and author of The Autistic Brain
2. “If I could snap my fingers and be nonautistic, I would not. Autism is part of what I am.”
Tom Hanks Meets Superfan With Autism: Watch (and Try Not to Tear Up)
3. “Autists are the ultimate square pegs, and the problem with pounding a square peg into a round hole is not that the hammering is hard work. It’s that you’re destroying the peg.”
―Paul Collins, author
4. “If they can’t learn the way we teach, we teach the way they learn.”
―Dr. O. Ivar Lovaas of the Lovaas Institute
5. “Autism is part of my child, it’s not everything he is. My child is so much more than a diagnosis.”
―S.L. Coelho, author
6. “There’s a saying within the Asperger community: if you’ve met one person with Asperger’s syndrome, you’ve met one person with Asperger’s syndrome … Within this condition, beneath this label, the variety of personality, of humor, of behavior, is infinite.”
—Hugh Dancy, star of the 2009 film about a man with Asperger’s syndrome, Adam
7. “I see people with Asperger’s syndrome as a bright thread in the rich tapestry of life.”
—Tony Attwood, author of The Complete Guide to Asperger’s Syndrome
8. “Even for parents of children that are not on the spectrum, there is no such thing as a normal child.”
—Violet Stevens, mom of a son with autism
9. “I smile every day watching my own kids grow and blossom, and the more they progress, the stronger an advocate I become for those who don’t have a voice.”
—Matt Bentgzen, father of two sons with Asperger’s
Your Autism Questions—Answered!
10. “If people take the time to get to know kids like Davis, they’ll see that they have so much to offer the community and the world. They’re not unproductive.”
—Lisa Pauley, mom of a son with autism
11. “Don’t think that there’s a different, better child ‘hiding’ behind the autism. This is your child. Love the child in front of you. Encourage his strengths, celebrate his quirks, and improve his weaknesses, the way you would with any child.”
—Claire Scovell LaZebnik, author of Growing Up on the Spectrum
12. “It does not matter what sixty-six percent of people do in any particular situation. All that matters is what you do.”
—John Elder Robison, author of Look Me In the Eye
13. “I’ve learned that every human being, with or without disabilities, needs to strive to do their best, and by striving for happiness you will arrive at happiness. For us, you see, having autism is normal—so we can’t know for sure what your ‘normal’ is even like. But so long as we can learn to love ourselves, I’m not sure how much it matters whether we’re normal or autistic.”
—Naoki Higashida, author of The Reason I Jump
- About Temple Grandin
10 inspiring quotes from people with autism
- Temple Grandin:
- Stephen Shore:
- Kerry Magro:
- Erin McKinney:
- Anthony Ianni:
- Amy Gravino:
- Scott Lentine:
- Rachel Barcellona:
- Dani Bowman:
- Haley Moss:
- Temple Grandin
- Stephen Shore
- Kerry Magro
- Erin McKinney
- Anthony Ianni
- Amy Gravino
- Scott Lentine
- Rachel Barcellona
- Dani Bowman
- Haley Moss
- What quotes from people with autism would you add to this list?
- Quotes About Autism
- My 30 Favourite Quotes from World Autism Awareness Week
- Carry on the Conversation
About Temple Grandin
Dr. Grandin did not talk until she was three and a half years old. She was fortunate to get early speech therapy. Her teachers also taught her how to wait and take turns when playing board games. She was mainstreamed into a normal kindergarten at age five. Oliver Sacks wrote in the forward of Thinking in Pictures that her first book Emergence: Labeled Autistic was “unprecedented because there had never before been an inside narrative of autism.” Dr. Sacks profiled Dr. Grandin in his best selling book Anthropologist on Mars.
Dr. Grandin became a prominent author and speaker on both autism and animal behavior. Today she is a professor of Animal Science at Colorado State University. She also has a successful career consulting on both livestock handling equipment design and animal welfare. She has been featured on NPR (National Public Radio) and a BBC Special – “The Woman Who Thinks Like a Cow”. She has also appeared on National TV shows such as Larry King Live, 20/20, Sixty Minutes, Fox and Friends, and she has a 2010 TED talk. Articles about Dr. Grandin have appeared in Time Magazine, New York Times, Discover Magazine, Forbes and USA Today. HBO made an Emmy Award winning movie about her life and she was inducted into the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 2016.
When she was young, she was considered weird and teased and bullied in high school. The only place she had friends was activities where there was a shared interest such as horses, electronics, or model rockets. Mr. Carlock, her science teacher, was an important mentor who encouraged her interest in science. When she had a new goal of becoming a scientist, she had a reason for studying. Today half the cattle in the United States are handled in facilities she has designed.
The Problem With Labels
In 2013, the American Psychiatric Association revised the diagnostic criteria for autism. This greatly broadened the spectrum. It now ranges from brilliant scientists, artists, and musicians to an individual who cannot dress himself or herself. Over the years, the diagnostic criteria have kept changing. It is not precise like a lab test for strep throat. Labels such as autism, ADHD, sensory processing disorder or learning disability are often applied to the same child. In older children with no speech delay, the diagnosis sometimes switches back and forth between autism and ADHD.
“One of the problems today is for a kid to get any special services in school, they have to have a label. The problem with autism is you’ve got a spectrum that ranges from Einstein to someone with no language and intellectual disability,” said Grandin. “Steve Jobs was probably mildly on the autistic spectrum. Basically, you’ve probably known people who were geeky and socially awkward but very smart. When does geeks and nerds became autism? That’s a gray area. Half the people in Silicon Valley probably have autism.”
As the number of children diagnosed with autism continues to rise nationally, Grandin is sharing her message about the disorder and “differently-abled brains” with packed houses. At the heart of that message is this: Rigid academic and social expectations could wind up stifling a mind that, while it might struggle to conjugate a verb, could one day take us to distant stars.
“Parents get so worried about the deficits that they don’t build up the strengths, but those skills could turn into a job,” said Grandin, who addresses scientific advances in understanding autism in her newest book, “The Autistic Brain: Thinking Across the Spectrum.” These kids often have uneven skills. We need to be a lot more flexible about things. Don’t hold these math geniuses back. You’re going to have to give them special ed in reading because that tends to be the pattern, but let them go ahead in math.”
Early diagnosis can lead to early intervention and access to special education programs, and, while crucial for children with speech delay, also means a permanent label that ultimately could impede progress, and the healthy development of a child’s identity. There are other situations where an autism diagnosis is helpful for an older person who is having problems with relationships. It can give them great insight, and enable them to improve relationships.
Have High, But Reasonable Expectations
A label can also impact parental expectations, a major source of therapeutic momentum for children. A parent with a diagnosed autistic child might be reluctant to teach practical social skills that are outside the child’s comfort zone, such as ordering food at a lunch counter. You have to stretch these kids just outside their comfort zone to help them develop. Give them choices of “stretching” activities such as you can do Boy Scouts or robotics.
“It hurts because they don’t have enough expectations for the kids. I see too many kids who are smart and did well in school, but they’re not getting a job because when they were young, they didn’t learn any work skills,” Grandin said. “They’ve got no life skills. The parents thinks, ‘Oh, poor Tommy. He has autism so he doesn’t have to learn things like shopping.” Grandin was raised by her mother in the 1950’s, a time when social skills were “pounded into every single child,” she said. “Children in my generation, when they were teenagers, they had jobs and learned how to work. I cleaned horse stalls. When I was 8 years old, my mother made me be a party hostess – shake hands, take coats, etc. In the 1950’s, social skills were taught in a much more rigid way so kids who were mildly autistic were forced to learn them. It hurts the autistic much more than it does the normal kids to not have these skills formally taught.”
“In my generation, paper routes taught important working skills. Today, parents should set up jobs a child can do in the neighborhood such as walking dogs for the neighbors. Younger children can do volunteer jobs outside the home such as being an usher at a house of worship or community center. This will teach both discipline and responsibility. It improved my self esteem to be recognized for doing a job well.”
“The skills that people with autism bring to the table should be nurtured for their benefit and society’s.” Grandin said. “And, if a cure for autism were found, she would choose to stay just the way she is.
“I like the really logical way that I think. I’m totally logical. In fact, it kind of blows my mind how irrational human beings are,” She said. “If you totally get rid of autism, you’d have nobody to fix your computer in the future.”
Educating Students with Different Kinds of Minds
If algebra had been required course for college graduation in 1967, there would be no Temple Grandin. At least, no Temple Grandin as the world knows her today – professor, inventor, best-selling author, and rock star in the seemingly divergent fields of animal science and autism education. “I probably would have been a handyman, fixing toilets at some apartment building somewhere,” said Grandin. “I can’t do algebra. It makes no sense. Why does algebra have to be the gateway to all other mathematics?”
The abstract concepts in algebra present a common stumbling block for many with an autism spectrum disorder, dyslexia, or other learning problems. Many of the kids would do well if geometry was substituted for algebra. For autistic and photo-realistic visual thinkers, such as Grandin, understanding comes from being able to see and work through a concept in images, creating what is in effect, a virtual reality program that plays out in the brain. In this manner, Grandin, who didn’t speak until she was almost 4, conceptualized down to minute details her design for a humane livestock restraint system now used on nearly half to the cattle in the U.S.
Fortunately, the academic trend in the late 1960’s was finite math, a course Grandin passed with the help of tutors and devoted study, satisfying her college math requirement. She went on to earn a bachelor’s degree in psychology and both masters and doctoral degrees in animal science. For the past two decades, she’s been a professor at Colorado State University.
In her book, The Autistic Brain, she presents research findings that definitely show three types of specialized thinking. They are the photo realistic visual thinkers who think the way I do, math/pattern thinkers and word thinkers. Children who think differently will often thrive if they have more hands-on activities. Parents need to work with the schools to make sure that elementary school children have art, music, theater, sewing, woodworking, computer programs, and cooking . These classes teach important career skills and provide opportunities for students to have social interactions with their peers. Older students need to have access to career related classes such as welding, auto mechanics, and computer science.
There is a huge shortage of skilled mechanics. When I worked in construction installing my systems, I worked with many talented mechanics and metal fabricators. Some of them may have been on the milder end of the autism spectrum. These people were brilliant and they built very complicated things. Skilled trades are not for everybody on the spectrum. I estimate that a skilled trade would be a good choice for 25% of fully verbal people with ASD. When I look back on a long career, some of the best days of my life were out at a construction site. It was so much fun to talk about building things.
This covers a wide range of developmental problems ranging from mild to severe.
10 inspiring quotes from people with autism
This guest post is by Kerry Magro.
Our kids with autism are going to one day be adults with autism. As a mentor to younger kids on the spectrum, one question I get a lot is about positive role models who are also on the autism spectrum within our community. All of the quotes below are from people with autism who’ve been able to inspire a great deal of hope. Today most of them speak about being able to overcome obstacles on the spectrum.
Kids have to be exposed to different things in order to develop. A child’s not going to find out he likes to play a musical instrument if you never exposed him to it…
If you’ve met one individual with autism, you’ve met one individual with autism.
Autism can’t define me. I define autism.
Our experiences are all unique. Regardless, I do believe that it is important to find the beautiful. Recognize that there is bad, there is ugly, there is disrespect, there is ignorance and there are meltdowns. Those things are inevitable. But there is also good.
At the end of the day, we don’t dream our lives…WE LIVE THEM!
I believe that inside every person who is bullied there is a strength and a tenacity to survive. You don’t always know that this strength exists, but if you make it through those dark times, you become aware. You become a survivor, someone whose courage and spirit is far stronger than all of the hate and cruelty of their bullies. The one thing that I want to impart to children with autism is knowledge of their own inner strength, and the belief that one day at a time, they, too, can get through this.
Wanting to be free. Wanting to be me. Trying to make people see. And accept the real me.
Everyone has a mountain to climb and autism has not been my mountain, it has been my opportunity for victory.
Anything Is possible! If I can do it, so can you!
I might hit developmental and societal milestones in a different order than my peers, but I am able to accomplish these small victories on my own time.
Our kids with autism are going to one day be adults with autism. As a mentor to younger kids on the spectrum, one question I get a lot is about positive role models who are also on the spectrum within our community. All of the quotes below are from people with autism who’ve been able to inspire a great deal of hope. These quotes are also great for anyone who wants to share an autism-related quote on their social media pages for World Autism Month in April or World Autism Awareness Day on April 2. These quotes include…
“Kids have to be exposed to different things in order to develop. A child’s not going to find out he likes to play a musical instrument if you never exposed him to it…”
“If you’ve met one individual with autism, you’ve met one individual with autism.”
“Autism doesn’t come with an instruction guide. It comes with a family who will never give up.”
Our experiences are all unique. Regardless, I do believe that it is important to find the beautiful. Recognize that there is bad, there is ugly, there is disrespect, there is ignorance and there are meltdowns. Those things are inevitable. But there is also good. ~ Erin McKinney
“At the end of the day, we don’t dream our lives…WE LIVE THEM!”
“I believe that inside every person who is bullied there is a strength and a tenacity to survive. You don’t always know that this strength exists, but if you make it through those dark times, you become aware. You become a survivor, someone whose courage and spirit is far stronger than all of the hate and cruelty of their bullies. The one thing that I want to impart to children with autism is knowledge of their own inner strength, and the belief that one day at a time, they, too, can get through this.”
Wanting to be free. Wanting to be me. Trying to make people see. And accept the real me.
Everyone has a mountain to climb and autism has not been my mountain, it has been my opportunity for victory.
“Anything Is possible! If I can do it, so can you!”
I might hit developmental and societal milestones in a different order than my peers, but I am able to accomplish these small victories on my own time.
What quotes from people with autism would you add to this list?
Kerry Magro, a professional speaker and best-selling author who is also on the autism spectrum started the nonprofit KFM Making a Difference in 2011 to help students with autism receive scholarship aid to pursue a post-secondary education. Help us continue to help students with autism go to college by making a tax-deductible donation to our nonprofit here. Also, consider having Kerry, one of the only professionally accredited speakers on the spectrum in the country, speak at your next event by contacting him here.
We’d also appreciate if you could start a Facebook Fundraiser to support our nonprofit’s scholarship fund! You can learn more about how you can do just that here.
April 2 is marked as World Autism Awareness Day, adopted by the United Nations in 2007 to highlight the growing health crisis globally. Every year, Autism Speaks — an advocacy organization in the U.S. founded in 2005 — celebrates with the campaign “Light It Up Blue.”
On this day, thousands of iconic landmarks and buildings around the world, including the White House, join the campaign by lighting up in blue.
Here are some quotes of hope and other facts to share on this day to raise awareness:
1. “Growth is never by mere chance. It is a result of forces working together” — Autism Treatment Center of America
2. “Mild autism can give you a genius like Einstein. If you have severe autism, you could remain nonverbal. You don’t want people to be on the severe end of the spectrum. But if you got rid of all the autism genetics, you wouldn’t have science or art. All you would have is a bunch of social ‘yak yaks.'” — Temple Grandin
3. “It takes a village to raise a child. It takes a child with autism to raise the consciousness of the village.” — Coach Elaine Hall
4. “Autism doesn’t have to define a person. Artists with autism are like anyone else: They define themselves through hard work and individuality.” —Adrienne Bailon
5. “Autism offers a chance for us to glimpse an awe-filled vision of the world that might otherwise pass us by.” — Dr. Colin Zimbleman
6. “Autism is the fastest growing developmental disability in our nation.” — Mary Bono
7. “What is important is to treat everyone like an individual and learning not to generalize autism. With autism, people make assumptions, but it’s very broad, and everyone’s so different. You have to treat each person as an individual.” — Nikki Reed
8. “Children with autism are colorful — they are often beautiful, and like the rainbow, they stand out.” — Adele Devine
9. “The risks are far greater to your child of not getting immunized than any kind of speculative potential relationship between the vaccine and the development of autism.” — Irwin Redlener
10. “The way we choose to see the world creates the world we see” — Barry Neil Kaufman
11. ”A child with autism is not ignoring you, they are simply waiting for you to enter their world.” — Autism Treatment Center of America
12. “You cannot save your child from their own feelings of discomfort that they are going to feel as they grow. Think of your job as a parent as helping know that they cannot necessarily control what the world brings them; but they can choose how they are going to feel about it.” — Kate C. Wilde
13. “Autism is a severe neurodevelopmental disorder that is characterized by social withdrawal, by repetitive behaviors and by some kind of focal attention in its classic form. Basically, it’s an inability to relate to others.” — Harvey V. Fineberg
I’m collecting favorite quotes about autism from some of my favorite people. Please share your own in the comments and, if I like it, I may add it to the list.
- “If you’ve met one person with autism, you’ve met one person with autism.” – Dr. Stephen Shore.
- “What would happen if the autism gene was eliminated from the gene pool? You would have a bunch of people standing around in a cave, chatting and socializing and not getting anything done.” – Dr. Temple Grandin
- “It takes a village to raise a child. It takes a child with autism to raise the consciousness of the village.” – Coach Elaine Hall
- “And now I know it is perfectly natural for me not to look at someone when I talk. Those of us with Asperger’s are just not comfortable doing it. In fact, I don’t really understand why it’s considered normal to stare at someone’s eyeballs.” –John Elder Robison
- “Autism . . . offers a chance for us to glimpse an awe-filled vision of the world that might otherwise pass us by.” – Dr. Colin Zimbleman, Ph.D.
- “I’ve listened enough. It’s time for me to speak, however it may sound. Through an electronic device, my hands, or my mouth. Now it’s your time to listen. Are you ready?” – Neal Katz, Self-advocate
- “The most interesting people you’ll find are ones that don’t fit into your average cardboard box. They’ll make what they need, they’ll make their own boxes.” -Dr. Temple Grandin
- “This is a FOREVER journey with this creative, funny, highly intelligent, aggressive, impulsive, nonsocial, behavioral, often times loving individual. The nurse said to me after 6 hours with him ‘He is a gift’ INDEED he is.” – Janet Frenchette Held, Parent
- “Behavior is communication. Change the environment and behaviors will change.” – Lana David
- “I think when one becomes identified with a label that’ll become all anyone sees; the expansiveness and breadth of the all of who you are suddenly hidden from view. I look to the entire history of the label and how it came to be. Our Western world likes to compartmentalize putting everything into simplistic categories. Now they have such terms as “neurotypical” and “neurodivergent,” separating the entire human population on the planet into two categories. I would say that “neurotypical” is a diversity as well,.” – Kurt Muzikar, Introduction to “Bozo to Bosons” (not yet published)
- “For autistic individuals to succeed in this world, they need to find their strengths and the people that will help them get to their hopes and dreams. In order to do so, ability to make and keep friends is a must. Among those friends, there must be mentors to show them the way. A supportive environment where they can learn from their mistakes is what we as a society needs to create for them.” – Bill Wong, Autistic Occupational Therapist
- “Our wounds and hurts and fears are in our eyes. Humans think they build ‘walls’ for internal privacy. They think eye contact is about honesty but they mostly lie because they think they can hide their intent. Eye contact is invasive.” – Carol Ann Edscorn
- “Although people with autism look like other people physically, we are in fact very different . . . We are more like travelers from the distant, distant past. And if, by our being here, we could help the people of the world remember what truly matters for the Earth, that might give us quiet pleasure.” – Naoki Higashida, The Reason I Jump
- “Negative words carry negative vibration. Positive words carry positive vibration. What do you want your child to reflect back to you, the label of disordered or the label of gifted in a new way?” – Suzy Miller, Awesomism
- “I want Elijah to know that he is loved just the way he is.” – Gee Vero
- “What makes a child gifted and talented may not always be good grades in school, but a different way of looking at the world and learning.” – Chuck Grassley
- “Parents have therapists come in their house and tell them what to do. They give their power away. Parents need to focus on healing and empowering themselves. They must shift their beliefs about autism. Once the parent knows who they are the child will respond.” – Lori Shayew.
- “Not everyone is perfect. There is always an imperfect side to everyone,” – Finn Christie, Age 10, on making Perfect Babies.
- “Life is . . . not about counting the losses and the lost expectations, but rather swimming, with as much grace as can be mustered, in the joy of all of it.” – Leisa Hammett
- “For every 3 years your child is in public school, you can expect one exceptional teacher, one mediocre teacher, and one teacher who makes your life miserable.” – Rick Seward, disability advocate for Alpha Resource Center in Santa Barbara, 2002
- “The labeling undermines us in so many levels! But people don’t know, they need to be reminded that we too are God’s children. People don’t mean harm because they too are God’s children. Love heals lots of wounds. Love is patient, love is kind; my motto in life. You are loving. Mom has healed her consciousness to allow me to truly reflect my real identity as God’s perfect child. Just don’t let your senses get you fooled, we are more than our bodies. Find the truth so you can reflect your real being.” – Nicole (13 years old, non-verbal, labeled autistic, typed independently on her iPad)
- “Music therapy, equine therapy, and art therapy are all ‘therapeutic’ because they are a vibrational match. They have elements to them that your child can use at his current level of high-vibrational function to make sense of this lower vibrating world.” – Suzy Miller, Awesomenism
- “Stop thinking about normal . . . You don’t have a big enough imagination for what your child can become.” – Johnny Seitz, autistic tightrope artists in the movie Loving Lamposts.
- “The way we look at our children and their limitations is precisely the way they will feel about themselves. We set the examples, and they learn by taking our cue from us.” – Amalia Starr
- “English is my 2nd language. Autism is my first.” – Dani Bowman
- “We are the doorway into a New World Order that is based on love and heart. We have the heart key. We only need the respect of others to learn how to serve wisely and kindly.” – Lyrica, nonverbal, from the book Awetizm
- “Rome was not built on the first day. I need time to build the Eiffel Tower of my life.” – Jeremy Sicile-Kira
- “Within every living child exists the most precious bud of self-identity. To search this out and foster it with loving care; that is the essence of educating an autistic child.” – Dr. Kiyo Kitahara
- “We contain the shapes of trees and the movement of rivers and stars within us.” – Patrick Jasper Lee
- “When doctors, parents, teachers, therapists, even television describe typical spectrum kids, without meaning to, they’re describing typically male spectrum traits — patterns first noticed by observing boys. Only boys. And we aren’t boys. So they miss and mislabel us.” – Jennifer O’Toole, Asperkids
- “Sometimes it is the people no one can imagine anything of who do the things no one can imagine.” – Alan Turing, creator of the first computer used to break codes during WW II.
- “My autism is the reason I’m in college and successful. It’s the reason I’m good in math and science. It’s the reason I care,” – Jacob Barnett, sixteen-year old math and physics prodigy
- “Think of it: a disability is usually defined in terms of what is missing . . . But autism . . . is as much about what is abundant as what is missing, an over-expression of the very traits that make our species unique.” – Paul Collins, Not Even Wrong: Adventures in Autism
- “The concept of neurodiversity provides a paradigm shift in how we think about mental functioning. Instead of regarding large portions of the American public as suffering from deficit, disease, or dysfunction in their mental processing, neurodiversity suggests that we instead speak about differences in cognitive functioning.” – Dr. Thomas Armstrong
- “My autism makes things shine. Sometimes I think it is amazing but sometimes it is sad when I want to be the same and talk the same and I fail. Playing the piano makes me very happy. Playing Beethoven is like your feelings – all of them – exploding.” – Mikey Allcock, 16-year old who was non-verbal until age 10
- “By holding the highest vision for your child when they can not see it for themselves, you are lifting them up, elevating them and helping them to soar.” – Megan Koufos
- “There is no cure for being human,” – Cheri Rauser, mom to Isabell
- “I know of nobody who is purely autistic or purely neurotypical. Even God had some autistic moments, which is why the planets all spin.” – Jerry Newport, Your Life is Not a Label
- “The good and bad in a person, their potential for success or failure, their aptitudes and deficits – they are mutually conditional, arising from the same source. Our therapeutic goal must be to teach the person how to bear their difficulties. Not to eliminate them for him, but to train the person to cope with special challenges with special strategies; to make the person aware not that they are ill, but that they are responsible for their lives.” – Hans Asperger
- “Autism is really more of a difference to be worked with rather than a monolithic enemy that needs to be slain or destroyed.” – Stephen Shore, PhD
- “I view ‘autistic’ as a word for a part of how my brain works, not for a narrow set of behaviors and certainly not for a set of boundaries of a stereotype that I have to stay inside.” – Amanda Baggs
- “My autism is like the taste of tepid saké, different but interesting.” – Sue Rubin
- “Like Asperger, I too would sometimes like to claim a dash of autism for myself. A dash of autism is not a bad way to characterize the apparent detachment and unworldliness of the scientist who is obsessed with one seemingly all-important problem and temporarily forgets the time of day, not to mention family and friends.” – Uta Frith
- “Even for parents of children who are not on the spectrum, there is no such thing as a normal child.” – Violet Stevens
- “Our duty in autism is not to cure but to relieve suffering and to maximize each person’s potential.” – John Elder Robison
- “Disability doesn’t make you exceptional, but questioning what you think you know about it does.” – Stella Young
- “Being autistic is not about living in a vacuum, sucking in everything around you, living in an existence shutout from your environment. If anything, the environment becomes more real, more painful, more evident.” – Jocelyn Eastman
- “Vibrant waves of sequenced patterns emerged in my head whenever I looked at musical notes and scores. Like pieces of a mysterious puzzle solved, it was natural for me to see music and its many facets as pictures in my head. It never occurred to me that others couldn’t see what I saw.” – Dr. Stephen Shore
- “We need to embrace those who are different and the bullies need to be the ones who get off the bus,.” Caren Zucker, co-author of “In a Different Key”
- “I don’t want my thoughts to die with me, I want to have done something. I’m not interested in power, or piles of money. I want to leave something behind. I want to make a positive contribution – to know that my life has meaning.” – Temple Grandin
- “Autists are the ultimate square pegs, and the problem with pounding a square peg into a round hole is not that the hammering is hard work. It’s that you’re destroying the peg.” – Paul Collins
- “Don’t think that there’s a different, better child ‘hiding’ behind the autism. This is your child. Love the child in front of you. Encourage his strengths, celebrate his quirks, and improve his weaknesses, the way you would with any child. You may have to work harder on some of this, but that’s the goal.” – Claire Scovell LaZebnik
- Do not fear people with Autism, embrace them. Do not spite people with Autism, unite them. Do not deny people with Autism, accept them, for then their abilities will shine.” – Paul Isaacs
- “I see people with Asperger’s syndrome as a bright thread in the rich tapestry of life.” – Tony Attwood
- “Autism is as much a part of humanity as is the capacity to dream.” – Kathleen Seidel
- “I looked up to the stars and wondered which one I was from.” – James McCue
- “I see everything in color. I have synesthesia, which means that the part of my brain – that controls the senses – sight, hearing, touch, smell and taste – are wired differently.” – Jeremy Sicile-Kira
- “Connection is what moves this world forward. Connection is a profound human experience.” – Jenny Palmiotto, The Therapist Shift
- “By separating the autism from the person, are we encouraging our patients’ family members to love an imagined non-autistic child that was never born, forgetting about the real person who exists in front of us?” – Christina Nicolaidis, A Physician Speaks
- “Blue sky may be beautiful but lighting the tall buildings blue is autism-awareness.” – Tito Mukhopadhyay
- “Autism makes you listen louder. It makes you pay attention on an emotional level as well as an intellectual level.” – Jace King, brother to Taylor Cross, Normal People Scare Me Too
- “Presume intelligence with all children with autism. Presume all of them are hearing you.” – Lori Shayew, The Gifts of Autism
- “Autism is about having a pure heart and being very sensitive. It is about finding a way to survive in an overwhelming, confusing world . . . It is about developing differently, in a different pace and with different leaps.” – Trisha Van Berkel
- “Until we create a nation that regularly wants to employ a person with autism, assure for a quality education for each person with autism, and eliminates the far too many unnecessary obstacles placed in the way of success for a person with autism, we really won’t be as successful as we must. We need to get all in our nation to embrace the belief that each person with autism is valued, respected and held to the highest level of dignity and must be provided every opportunity for the highest quality of life each and every day.” – ASA President Scott Badesch
- “Showing kindness towards those who are different and embracing our imperfections as proof of our humanness is the remedy for fear.” – Emma Zurcher-Long of Emma’s Hope Book
- “Nowhere am I so desperately needed as among a shipload of illogical humans.” – Mr.Spock
- ” . . . I don’t need to apologize for Reid as much as interpret his behavior for the uninitiated. His actions aren’t immoral or wrong; they just get misconstrued or misinterpreted.” – Andrea Moriarity, One Track Mind: 15 Ways to Amplify Your Child’s Special Interest
- ” . . . Autistic people are people: they’re not puzzle pieces or baffling enigmas or medical mysteries to be solved, or ‘normal’ people ‘trapped’ in the bodies of autistics or any of that crap that infects so many portrayals of autistic people in both the clinical literature and the popular media. At the same time, I think it’s equally important to celebrate the differences between autistic people and typical people, and to recognize the need for accommodating autism as a significant disability . . . ” Steve Silberman, an Interview with Steve Silberman author of Neurotribes.
- “Without deviation from the norm, progress is not possible.” – Frank Zappa
- “The teacher must have to become autistic.” – Hans Asperger
- “We have to do away with this nonsense that there is a window of opportunity for a person with autism.” – Barry Prizant, author Uniquely Human at the 2016 Love and Autism Conference
- “I believe everyone on the planet has their thing and, especially in my experience, autistic people all have a tremendous gift. It’s a matter of finding that gift and nurturing it.” Edie Brannigan, Mother to runner, Mikey Brannigan
- “As an autistic I can readily see environmental phenomena of sun particles interacting with moisture in the air and rising up from the ground. I thought of these things I could see as sun sparkles and world tails.” – Judy Endow, Painted Words: Aspects of Autism Translated
- “When I did stims such as dribbling sand through my fingers, it calmed me down. When I stimmed, sounds that hurt my ears stopped. Most kids with autism do these repetitive behaviors because it feels good in some way. It may counteract an overwhelming sensory environment . . .” – Temple Grandin, Autism Asperger’s Digest, 2011
- “The experience of many of us is not that ‘insistence on sameness’ jumps out unbidden and unwanted and makes our lives hard, but that ‘insistence on sameness’ is actually a way of adapting to a confusing and chaotic environment . . . ” Dora Raymaker
- “Autism is here to stay and may be considered a part of the diversity of the human gene pool.” – Dr. Stephen Shore
- “As soon as a child is capable of understanding, they will know they are different. Just as a diabetic needs insulin, an autistic child needs accommodations . . . The label gave me knowledge and self-awareness.” – Steve Andrews, Platinum Bay Technologies.
- “A person with autism hears every sound intensely magnified. Thus, if the tone of voice is harsh or strict, they will feel scared and threatened and, consequently, may inadvertently scream or even attack. Aggressive behavior is brought on by fear.” – Joao Carlos Costa, 21, non-verbal, autistic
- “Therapists and educators have traditionally tried to suppress or modulate a child’s special interest, or use it as a tool for behavior modification: Keep your hands still and stop flapping, and you will get to watch a Star Wars clip; complete your homework or no Harry Potter. But what if these obsessions themselves can be turned into pathways to growth? What if these intellectual cul-de-sacs can open up worlds?” – Scientific American article talking about the documentary Life, Animated
- “To measure the success of our societies, we should examine how well those with different abilities, including persons with autism, are integrated as full and valued members.” – Ban Ki-Moon, Former United Nations Secretary-General
- “I need to see something to learn it, because spoken words are like steam to me; they evaporate in an instant, before I have a chance to make sense of them. I don’t have instant-processing skills. Instructions and information presented to me visually can stay in front of me for as long as I need, and will be just the same when I come back to them later. Without this, I live the constant frustration of knowing that I’m missing big blocks of information and expectations, and am helpless to do anything about it.” – Ellen Notbohm, Ten Things Every Child with Autism Wishes You Knew
- “ Mild autism doesn’t mean one experiences autism mildly . . . It means YOU experience their autism mildy. You may not know how hard they’ve had to work to get to the level they are.” – Adam Walton
- “Are your eyes listening? That’s what needs to happen to hear my writing voice. Because of autism, the thief of politeness and friendship, I have no sounding voice. By typing words I can play with my life and stretch from my world to yours. I become a real person when my words try to reach out to you without my weird body scaring you away. Then I am alive.” – Sarah Stup, Excerpted from “Are your eyes listening? Collected Works” by Sarah Stup
- “When a family focuses on ability instead of disability, all things are possible . . . Love and acceptance is key. We need to interact with those with autism by taking an interest in their interests.” – Amanda Rae Ross
- “Art can permeate the very deepest part of us, where no words exist.” – Eileen Miller, The Girl Who Spoke with Pictures: Autism Through Art
- “Why should I cry for not being an apple, when I was born an orange, I’d be crying for an illusion, I may as well cry for not being a horse.” – Donna Williams
- “Just one step in front of each other, each day. In the end, that is all, we’re expected to take.” – Donna Williams (1963-2017), Footsteps of a Nobody
- “The difference between high-functioning autism and low-functioning is that high-functioning means your deficits are ignored, and low-functioning means your assets are ignored.” – Laura Tisoncik
- “Humane storytelling is the way to advance society’s understanding of #Autism as it has the potential to change people’s hearts and minds.” – Tom Clements
- “Let’s give people with autism more opportunities to demonstrate what they feel, what they imagine, what comes naturally to them through humor and the language of sensory experience. As we learn more about autism, let’s not forget to learn from those with autism. There are poets walking among you and they have much to teach.” – Chris Martin, Unrestricted Interest
- “Years before doctors informed me of my high-functioning autism and the disconnect it causes between person and language, I had to figure out the world as best I could. I was a misfit. The world was made up of words. But I thought and felt and sometimes dreamed in a private language of numbers.” – Daniel Tammett
- “Within every child is a connection to one form or another and a potential waiting to be fulfilled.” – Dr. Stephen Mark Shore
- “Truly I dreamt that my beautiful mom told others my secret about life. Nicely the secret was very easy to say but harder to do. The secret is: believe in your child and believe in yourself.” – Jeremy Sicile-Kira
- “I draw my inspiration from people and the world. I see the world full of bold colors, and I am fascinated by our differences that make us all special and unique human beings. My inspiration also comes from the fact that everyone in the world has something special to offer, no matter their race, color, religion, or disability. There is beauty in everything I see, and my hope is that the world can see beauty and acceptance through my eyes.” – Ronaldo Byrd, who participated in Created on Ipad gallery
- “Be thankful for autism. God shines brightest in weakness, and it comes with strengths that enable us to fill certain job roles better than others would (a talent, if you will).” – Peter Lantz
- “Low pitched notes really make me feel like love might be truly possible. High pitched notes make me feel like I could go crazy with pain and sadness. Great rhythms can make me feel like life is freedom.” – Jeremy Sicile-Kira
- “Rather than healing our child of his developmental disability, God healed me of my spiritual disability.” – Diane Dokko
- “Since understanding and accommodation are outside of our locus of control, we can focus on our own coping mechanisms. This allows us to experience and process much more information and see patterns before others.” – Joe Biel
- “We can use Asperger’s as a super power if we focus.” – Daniel M. Jones
- “Empowering your young person is the key to giving them the skills they need to live an independent life. If you do things for them that they could learn or even do for themselves by themselves, then you are DISEMPOWERING your young person.” – Tom Iland
- “Rigid academic and social expectations could wind up stifling a mind that, while it might struggle to conjugate a verb, could one day take us to distant stars.” – Temple Grandin
- ” . . . when experts speak of social deficits in autism they can neither imagine accompanying benefits nor critically examine their own neurologies. How about a new slogan? Feel globally. Perceive locally.” – Ralph James Savarese, See It Feelingly
- “It took a while to recognize my freedom from cultural conditioning as a high value benefit that supports my up spiral of independent sovereignty.” – Steve Staniek
- “Using the term “high-functioning” discounts or dismisses the person’s needs or struggles . . . Using the term “low-functioning” discounts or dismisses a person’s strengths and capabilities.” Tom Iland, The Fallacy of High and Low Functioning Autism
Quotes About Autism
“Autism is not contagious, but my smile is.”
“Autism doesn’t have to define a person. Artists with autism are like anyone else:
They define themselves through hard work and individuality.”
-Adrienne Bailon, Artist
“Autistic today. Genius tomorrow.”
“Don’t think that there’s a different, better child ‘hiding’ behind the autism.
This is your child. Love the child in front of you. Encourage his strengths, celebrate his quirks, and improve his weaknesses, the way you would with any child.”
“I am different, not less”
-Dr. Temple Grandin
“It seems that for success in science or art, a dash of autism is essential.”
“Even for parents of children that are not on the spectrum, there is no such thing as a normal child.”
“When enough people care about autism or diabetes or global warming, it helps everyone, even if only a tiny fraction actively participate.”
“Who do you think made the first stone spears? The Asperger guy.
If you were to get rid of all the autism genetics, there would be no more Silicon Valley.”
-Dr. Temple Grandin
To measure the success of our societies, we should examine how well those with different abilities, including persons with autism, are integrated as full and valued members.
-Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon
“If I could snap my fingers and be nonautistic, I would not. Autism is part of what I am.”
-Dr. Temple Grandin
“I see people with Asperger’s syndrome as a bright thread in the rich tapestry of life.”
“Autism is part of my child. It’s not everything he is. My child is so much more than a diagnosis.”
“Autism is about having a pure heart and being very sensitive… It is about finding a way to survive in an overwhelming, confusing world… It is about developing differently, in a different pace and with different leaps.”
“Aspergers – it’s not a symptom, it’s a feature.”
Autism: Where the “randomness of life” collides and clashes with an individual’s need for the sameness.
“Why Fit in when you were born to standout?”
“Autism, seeing the world from a different angle.”
“I wouldn’t be where I am today if I were neurotypical because I would have been interested in social things. Having a little autism helped me achieve my goals and not miss what most people thought I was missing out on.”
-Evan Delaney Rodgers, Autistic Politician
“The difference between high-functioning and low-functioning is that high-functioning means your deficits are ignored, and low-functioning means your assets are ignored.”
“Though devastating at first, Autism isn’t the end of the world. It’s the beginning of a whole new one.”
“Having Asperger’s means I’m a genius in my own special way!”
-by an 11 year old girl
“Society says I’m Autistic. God says I’m Perfect!”
“For all we know, the first tools on earth might have been developed by a loner sitting at the back of the cave, chipping at thousands of rocks to find the one that made the sharpest spear, while the neurotypicals chattered away in the firelight.”
“I do not suffer from Autism, but I do suffer from the way you treat me.”
“If you’ve met A child with autism, you’ve met A child with autism. Each and every one of them is so wonderfully different.”
“Children with Autism are angels who lost their way to heaven and fell down on earth.”
“She may not be perfect, but she’s 100% right.”
“Autism is as much a part of humanity as is the capacity to dream.”
“Autism is not contagious, but kindness is…”
For more quotes about autism see: https://www.autismparentingmagazine.com/quotes-about-autism
My 30 Favourite Quotes from World Autism Awareness Week
World Autism Awareness Week is a time for the best in the autism community to come out. As such, whether it be a celebration of personal achievement or a proclamation of the progress we have seen, it tends to be that, if you are looking for some inspirational autism words of wisdom, then this is the week to find it.
With the aim of recycling these powerful words, to further bang the drums of awareness, today I have collected 30 of my favourite autism quotes from 2019s World Autism Awareness Week and compiled them into one of the most motivational lists you’ll find on the web!
1. April 2nd is World Autism Awareness Day. Every day should be World Autism Acceptance Day – Finchley Central Tube Station
2. No, autism is not a ‘gift’. For most, it is an endless fight against schools, workplaces and bullies. But, under the right circumstances, given the right adjustments, it CAN be a superpower – Greta Thunberg: Environmental Activist
3. apricating the small things that some people might not understand and that, in itself, can show people the general beauty of things – IndieAndy: Autism Advocate
4. We are trying to fit in because we have a lot to offer this world – Autistica
5. Autistic people often have skills that are vital to any business, yet only 16% of autistic adults in the UK are in full-time employment, despite over three quarters wanting to work. Thankfully, progress is being made – Richard Branson: Super Rich Guy
6. I wouldn’t say go out of your way and treat people really different because we’re all people at the end of the day. If you’re a nice person just be nice to everyone – Niall Aslam: Super Handsome Guy
7. It’s really cool that everybody’s a little bit different but the same too – Julia: Sesame Street
8. Autism is like a rainbow. It has a bright side and a darker side. But every shade is important and beautiful – Rosie Tennant Doran: Fellow Autist
9. is not a Google search, it’s searching for and learning from autistic people themselves – Invisible I: Autism Advocate
10. The most interesting people you’ll find are the ones that don’t fit into your average cardboard box. – Leigh James (Original Author Dr Temple Grandin)
11. Forget about the things they can’t do and focus on what they can. Everyone is much more than a diagnosis written on paper – West Hampstead Tube Station
12. Autism / Aspergers is a blessing, not a burden. Embrace being different – Tom Hewitt: Fellow Autist
13. autism doesn’t necessarily present the same way in boys as it does in girls, but that doesn’t make it any less real – Anonymous: Fellow Autist
14. I’m proud to be autistic and on the rainbow spectrum! Our honesty, direct focus, intense love for our passions and a deep sense of injustice are traits that the world needs right now – Dara McAnulty: Autism Advocate
15. She does not care at all, any iota, about what people think about her and isn’t that really a dream life? –Lauren Braze: YouTuber
16. His autism isn’t contagious but his smile is: Anonymous: Autism Parent
17. Yes, we are different, but that is something that is incredible and amazing and powerful and so, so beautiful – Chloe Hayden: Autism Advocate
18. I would urge the public to show their support this week, to educate themselves on what it means to be autistic- the daily challenges people living with autism face and how that impacts on their ability to do things most people take for granted. By doing so, together we can build a more understanding and inclusive society that works for everyone –
Mark H Durkan: Politician
19. I am autistic and I am proud – Sez Francis: Autism Advocate
20. If you meet an autistic person please do not say they look normal or are good at fooling people. This is not a compliment – Siena Castellon: Autism Advocate
21. On World Autism Awareness Day we speak out against discrimination, celebrate the diversity of our global community and strengthen our commitment to inclusion for people with autism – Antonio Guterres: United Nations
22. We need to learn to accept and celebrate our differences. And we need to continue our research in Autism Spectrum Disorder in order to understand how we can best lend a helping hand – Alan Rosales: Scientist
23. ‘Autism is a mental developmental disorder and its something that makes it very difficult for people to communicate and form relationships’… don’t you think it’s time we came up with a new definition? – Kevin Chapman: YouTuber
24. If we all take the time and put in the effort to understand the neurodiverse individuals, the more ‘light’ we can shine into their little worlds. Which in turn, makes them shine all that much brighter – MushMello: Comic Creator
25. Having autism isn’t easy. In fact, there were times where I wished I was just a normal being. But when I look back on my life and how my life has changed for 21 years, I feel proud today to have something that makes me special and unique – Jessica McCartney: Fellow Autist
26. I’m a great big sister, I love harry potter, but I struggle with muggles – Anonymous: Fellow Autist
27. When it comes to ensuring that persons with autism enjoy the rights and freedoms to which we are all entitled – We must recommit to promoting acceptance of persons with autism – Alison Smale: United Nations
28. On World autism awareness Day there is a global recognition not only of autism but also the immense potential of persons with autism – Imran Khan: Pakistan Prime Minister
29. We’ve come a long way when it comes to awareness, now it’s time for people to accept autism – allowing people, like myself, to be ourselves and benefit society along the way – Savan Gandecha: Autism Advocate
30. A person with autism is:
Carry on the Conversation
Thank you to everyone who has supplied these incredible words over the last few days, and a special thank you to Carrie Grant & Sez Francis both who created incredible advocacy videos which I have quoted from more than once when creating this list.
Now it’s your turn, wha is your favourite ever quote on autism? Let me know in the comments below.
As always, I can also be found on Twitter @AutismRevised and via my email: [email protected]
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Thank you for reading and I will see you TOMORROW for more thoughts from across the spectrum.