Considered the world’s best-known and most-accomplished adult with autism, Grandin has dignified and improved the lives of millions with her message of hope and optimism for people with autism. She is an unofficial spokeswoman for autism, advocating early intervention to address autism and supportive mentors who can direct the autistic child’s fixations in fruitful directions.

Grandin was diagnosed with autism in 1950, and doctors, who then knew little about the condition, recommended the non-verbal 3-year-old’s parents institutionalize her. Refusing the notion that her child would never be a fully functioning member of society, Grandin’s mother instead devoted herself to finding special tutors and private schools with caring teachers who were willing to help her daughter overcome the social isolation characteristic of children with autism and nurture her brilliant mind to its full potential.

With the enduring support of her mother, an aunt and a high-school science teacher, Grandin had the courage to study and pursue a career as an animal scientist. She earned her bachelor’s degree from Franklin Pierce College in 1970, her master’s in animal science from Arizona State University in 1975 and her Ph.D. in animal science from the University of Illinois in 1989.

Last year, Grandin’s remarkable story came to light in the HBO movie “Temple Grandin,” a film that won seven Emmy awards. Also in 2010, Grandin was named one of Time magazine’s 100 most influential people in the world, a list that a Time editor said includes “people who are using their ideas, their visions and their actions to transform the world and have an effect on a multitude of people.”

The E.T. York Distinguished Lecturer Series was established in the Auburn University College of Agriculture in 1981 with an endowment by E.T. York Jr. and his wife, Vam Cardwell York, both native Alabamians and Auburn graduates. The series features internationally known scientists speaking on a wide range of topics at public and technical lectures and seminars on the Auburn campus.

For more information on the lecture, contact Deborah Solie at 334-844-8900 or das0002@auburn.edu.