Professional Au Pair Loreen Attends Lecture by Dr. Temple Grandin

May 31, 2017
Professional au pair Loreen Friedrich (age 24, above) is currently part of the apex PROaupair program and resides in Dallas, TX. Lauren is passionate about ergo-therapy and studied at the Ergotherapieschule Lippoldsberg in Germany. She recently had the opportunity to attend a lecture by Dr. Temple Grandin, a renowned spokesperson for autism.

Loreen’s hard work and desire to learn more about how to care for children with special needs has not gone unnoticed. Her host mom shares,

"Loreen has done so much for our son Kai. At first, he could concentrate only a few minutes and now Loreen can focus him on a project for up to 30 minutes. Life-skills such as eating or having to buckle in the car himself are just some of the great success experiences that Kai, with Loreen's help, could achieve.

Her loving support with the knowledge of her ergo-therapy training has made a difference for our family and for that we will be grateful forever. We love you, Loreen! "

-Dr Claudia Riedt, Host Mom

Professional au pair Loreen recaps her experience listening to Dr. Temple Grandin below.

Last Thursday I had a chance to attend a lecture and a discussion about ‘Autism’ with Dr. Temple Grandin. For me, this experience is definitely one of the highlights of my professional au pair year, which I will remember for a long time.

Dr. Temple Grandin is a remarkable woman who was diagnosed with autism in her early childhood. She showed some symptoms on the autism spectrum and began to speak far after the age of three. She was unsure of social interaction, as evidenced by aggression. After Temple Grandin began to speak and certain gifts were discovered, it became clear that she had Asperger autism. Through targeted support, she learned the expected social behavior and today no longer feels unsafe when interacting with people compared to when she was a child.

Today, Dr. Temple Grandin is an expert in animal behavioral psychology. She is also an expert on the topic of autism and has worked extensively on the topic of sensory integration. She is a professor at Colorado State University and travels through the US to give lectures. Dr. Temple Grandin began her lecture in Dallas with the quotation:

"Autism is not a disease but a behavioral variation. The language delay yes, that is a symptom of a disease. But autism itself is not a disease. "

She reported on her symptoms as a child. The doctors advised her mother to give her to a home, stamping her as disabled. But her mother did not want to give her away. She was looking for the best support for her daughter and always helped her confront her difficulties and find the correct dealings with the world. So, she kept practicing talking to her daughter and putting her into social situations. For example, at celebrations Temple had to greet the guests and shake their hands. Through the repetition, she gradually acquired a certain routine of greeting people.

Her mother had a good feeling for pushing her to her limits, without overstretching her.  Only by confronting with a situation and studying a suitable action/reaction can routine arise which gives the child control over the situation. This is why it is important not to support the child in his or her insecurity by protecting them from confrontation. It is better to support the child with such situations. According to Temple, for example, useful work for the learning of social intercourse is:

Selling lemonade or biscuits

Walking the dog

Welcoming guests

To this point, Dr. Temple Grandin has presented an exciting and illuminating experience from her own development. Her mother wanted her to spend the summer with her aunt on the farm. Temple did not want that. But her mother gave her a chance. She said that Temple should live and work with her aunt for a week and if she still did not like it, she would pick her up again.

So she had no decision about the fact that she had to be with her aunt but could determine the time frame and that gave her a sense of control and security. In the end, Temple stayed at the farm all summer, gaining her abilities where her interest in the livestock industry was formed.

Because her mother and aunt did not generalize what she was capable of, Dr. Temple was able to find her individual path in the world.

Dr. Grandin

Dr. Temple’s book recommendations on autism

"Seeing What Others Cannot See" Thomas G. West

"Fall Down 7 Times, Get Up 8" Debbie Silver

 "The Autistic Brain" Dr. Temple Grandin

In dealing with my host child I could already implement some of their tips and I hope that you also take a few useful tips from this summary. If you have the opportunity and are interested in the topic of autism, you should definitely listen to a speech by Dr. Temple Grandin. I find it was an enrichment, especially for my further ergo-therapeutic work in this area.