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Worth Repeating - For Children with Autism, Don't Set the Bar Too Low - featured February 18, 2011

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By Lisa Jo Rudy

Not too many people with disabilities become role models for the rest of the world.

Some, like Stevie Wonder, are just so talented and able in a particular area that their disability seems to become unimportant. Stevie Wonder's musical talent loses nothing as a result of his blindness.

But others, like Helen Keller and Temple Grandin, are held up as models because they worked like demons to achieve their goals despite ongoing, extraordinarily difficult challenges. Helen Keller became an intellectual and author, in the face of almost unimaginable odds. Temple Grandin became a world-renowned expert in animal husbandry and an international speaker and writer, daily facing and conquering her very real autistic challenges.

What do Keller and Grandin have in common? Both had parents who understood and accepted their daughters' differences, but were unwilling to accept a disability as an excuse for poor behavior, laziness or self-indulgence. Both had teachers who believed in their abilities without whitewashing their challenges. And both, of course, had considerable abilities and ambition - though those qualities were not evident in their earliest years.

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Tags: Article Newsletter 21 January 2011 Autism