HOUSTON (FOX 26) - In a nation where one out every 45 children is challenged with some form of Autism a woman donning boots and familiar western duds has emerged as the neurological equivalent of a Rock Star.
Her name is Temple Grandin and her journey is one a growing number of parents pray daily their kids can somehow replicate.
"I had to work extremely hard. My mother always knew just how much to push me, to stretch me just outside my comfort zone, because if you don't stretch these kids they don't develop, but by the other hand you don't throw them in the deep end of the pool," said the 68-year-old Grandin.
Grandin stretched beyond her own disorder to become a world renowned professor of Animal Science and the inspiration an award winning film.
But for parents and educators who crave a glimpse of our world through the eyes of the Autistic, Grandin's gift is her own narrative, one of personal perseverance and a belief that neurologically different children can and must learn skills that other people want.
"There needs to be a slow transition from the world of school to the world of work, ideally that needs to start in middle school, but it's never too late to start. It needs to be a gradual transition. Doing more and more things outside the home," said Grandin.
It is that message which drew Grandin to Houston's Monarch Institute where children endeavor daily to stretch beyond the personal barriers which threaten realized potential.
Grandin says with effort and the right guidance there is room in this world for every mind to find its place.
"I've been to Silicon Valley, I see a programmer who is in his late 20's and then I go to an Autism meeting and I see junior who is 12 years old, the junior version of that programmer and if he's in the right situation he could end up in Silicon Valley. If he's in the wrong situation he ends up getting addicted to video games," said Grandin.
Grandin is entering her 27th year as a professor at Colorado State University.
April is Autism month.