World renowned autism advocate Temple Grandin to keynote 2017 Work Without Limits conference

January 10, 2017

Temple Grandin, PhD, one of the most accomplished autism advocates in the world, will deliver the keynote address at the Work Without Limits Raise the Bar Hire! conference Oct. 5. UMass Medical School’s Work Without Limits is a statewide network of engaged employers and innovative, collaborative partners that aims to increase employment among individuals with disabilities.

“Temple Grandin is a highly sought after and respected authority on autism. Having her as a keynote speaker at this milestone fifth annual ‘Raise the Bar Hire!’ conference will help us raise awareness of the importance of employment and careers for persons with disabilities,” said Kathleen A. Petkauskos, director of Work Without Limits. “Statistics show that 1 in 88 U.S. children have been identified as having an autism spectrum disorder (ASD). Dr. Grandin and her keynote will shed an especially important light on this growing segment of our future workforce.”

Described as a temperamental, non-verbal, and anti-social child, Grandin was diagnosed with "brain damage" at the age of two. At the time, doctors believed her life would be best lived in an institution. Desperate for an alternative, Grandin’s mother eventually found a neurologist who gave her hope. Intense speech therapy, play therapy, mentoring, and structured schooling ensued…and she defied all expectations. Grandin is an international leader in animal welfare reform and has singlehandedly changed the cattle industry with her designs for humane slaughterhouses. 

Grandin grew up to be one of the first people to share intimate insights on what it’s like to be autistic. She authored hundreds of articles and several books on autism and invented the "hug box," a mechanism designed to calm individuals on the spectrum. The subject of the Emmy Award-winning HBO biopic Temple Grandin, she has appeared on NPR and on television shows such as 20/20, Larry King Live, and The Today Show. She was also named one of the most influential people in the world by Time 100. Grandin was inducted into the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in September 2016.

Grandin is widely considered a philosophical leader for both autism awareness and animal welfare. She serves as American professor of animal science at Colorado State University, operates Grandin Livestock Handling Systems, Inc., and is a consultant to the livestock industry on animal behavior. Grandin’s special sensitivities gave her a unique understanding of animals, leading her to design humane handling systems for livestock. Her New York Times bestseller Animals in Translation revolutionized the industry.

The fifth annual Raise the Bar Hire! conference is scheduled for Oct. 5-6, 2017. Day one of the conference will feature the keynote address by Grandin, educational breakout sessions, exhibitors and networking opportunities. On day two, Oct. 6, job seekers with disabilities can meet and network with some of Massachusetts’ leading employers at a half-day career fair. For more information, or to become a sponsor, contact Michelle Nowers

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