Autism Activist Temple Grandin Says Kids on the Spectrum Should Read Make:

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Autism Activist Temple Grandin Says Kids on the Spectrum Should Read Make:

When you’re Temple Grandin, best selling author and Autism activist, you may find that your time for doing interviews is extremely limited. It may even happen that the only time you’ve got available is the time it takes to get from one place to another. Shannon Penrod, host of Autism Live, took advantage of one of these moments by interviewing Grandin while giving her a ride to the airport.

Within the offices of Make:, Temple Grandin has many fans. When we saw her pick up a copy of Make: magazine and start talking about how great we are, we were elated and validated. We work hard to present quality articles and projects to inspire people of all skill levels and interests, and Grandin at least recognizes that. The part about us is at roughly 5:45 in the video below. However, you should watch the whole thing.

YouTube player

“How about this, Make: magazine,this is the kind of thing that a lot of the kids on the spectrum need to be doing, the cool stuff in here!”

While our ego gets a healthy boost from what she said about our magazine, the rest of the interview is delightful as well. Grandin opens up about how making things really had a big impact on her youth. Did you know that she and her friend were the first girls allowed to take woodshop in their elementary school?

“When I was in elementary school, one of my best friends was a girl named Eleanor, and she was the first girl in elementary school to get to take wood shop instead of cooking. I was the second girl in our school to get to take wood shop. We liked to make stuff, it was all about making stuff”

It didn’t stop there either. Life can be tough for teens in general, especially if they’re a bit different (different… not less). She was bullied in high school, but found comfort in like-minded peers who were into building stuff. She found her “tribe” as Penrod puts it. How many times have we heard this same story at Maker Faire? I’ve heard it a lot, and even told it a few times of my own.

“I had good friends in high school. Even though I got bullied and teased, I got friends who shared interests: riding horses together, doing electronics together, doing model rockets together, doing stuff… together”

Grandin didn’t stop at praise of Make: magazine. She continued to explain that it is these types of magazines and publications that should be in schools to encourage youth to pursue more active and scientific interests. The examples she listed were:

My absolute favorite part of this video though, is when they happen to drive by a construction site.

temple grandin geeking out

Grandin’s face lights up and she leans forward in her seat to get a better view of the equipment that she wishes she could play with. Can we get a video of Temple Grandin let loose on a construction site?

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I get ridiculously excited seeing people make things. I just want to revel in the creativity I see in makers. My favorite thing in the world is sharing a maker's story. find me at

View more articles by Caleb Kraft


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