Find Information About:

Drugs & Supplements

Get information and reviews on prescription drugs, over-the-counter medications, vitamins, and supplements. Search by name or medical condition.

Pill Identifier

Pill Identifier

Having trouble identifying your pills?

Enter the shape, color, or imprint of your prescription or OTC drug. Our pill identification tool will display pictures that you can compare to your pill.

Get Started
My Medicine

My Medicine

Save your medicine, check interactions, sign up for FDA alerts, create family profiles and more.

Get Started

WebMD Health Experts and Community

Talk to health experts and other people like you in WebMD's Communities. It's a safe forum where you can create or participate in support groups and discussions about health topics that interest you.

  • Second Opinion

    Second Opinion

    Read expert perspectives on popular health topics.

  • Community


    Connect with people like you, and get expert guidance on living a healthy life.

Got a health question? Get answers provided by leading organizations, doctors, and experts.

Get Answers

Sign up to receive WebMD's award-winning content delivered to your inbox.

Sign Up

Font Size

Asperger's Syndrome: Secret to Success

Scientist and autism activist Temple Grandin, PhD, reflects on life with Asperger's syndrome.
WebMD Feature
Reviewed by Louise Chang, MD

While autism spectrum disorder appears on many radar screens today, this wasn't the case when Temple Grandin was growing up in the 1950s. Grandin, now 60, didn't utter a word until she was 3 1/2 years old. As a result, she was labeled "autistic," and her parents were told she should be institutionalized. Fortunately, Grandin's story does not end there.

With the help of early education and a caring nanny, Grandin eventually learned to speak and flourish despite Asperger's syndrome, a developmental disorder marked by severe difficulties in understanding how to interact socially. Today she holds a PhD in animal science, is a professor of animal sciences at Colorado State University in Fort Collins, Colo., and the author of several books including Emergence: Labeled Autistic and Thinking In Pictures. Grandin is also one of the few livestock-handling equipment designers in the world and has designed the facilities in which half the cattle are handled in the United States.

Recommended Related to

Treating Autism: One Child's Story

Stories about children with autism are not always happy. But when Debbie Page tells about her son, Gabe, it's a story of hope. The Pages are lucky, in a way: Gabe, born in February 2003, is not as severely impaired as other children with autism. And the Pages, who live outside of Baltimore, are also lucky that Gabe was diagnosed and, most importantly, treated early in life through a program at the Kennedy Krieger Institute. Gabe may not be typical of most kids with autism. But with earlier identification...

Read the Treating Autism: One Child's Story article > >

As a result of her experiences, Grandin has a lot to say about how to reach children on the autism spectrum and encourage them to meet their full potential.

How did you learn to communicate?

When I was 3, I looked terrible. I was fully autistic. Early education helped me. I had a nanny who spent all day with me and my sister teaching me how to play games and interact with others.

You were diagnosed with autism in 1950. How have things changed for children diagnosed with autism today?

I think the younger kids have much better services available to them today (including speech therapy, physical therapy, and occupational therapy). The most important thing for autistic children is to have 20 hours a week of one-on-one interaction with an effective teacher. Still, some kids are very low-functioning and won't ever have a job and will have to live in a supervised environment, but if they get the right training early, they can do simple things for themselves.

What if parents can't afford or are not eligible for such services?

If you can't afford a nanny or services, go to the local church and get grandmothers or students to play games with the kids and interact with them. The worst thing you can do with a young autistic child is let them sit in a corner and watch TV. You have to expose them to a lot of different things and get them out doing a lot of stuff.

1 | 2 | 3
Next Article:

Would the fear of autism keep you from getting your child vaccinated?