Some people who have autism and Asperger's think in pictures. Kinda like Google Images.

People with autism and Asperger's see the world in very different ways from the rest of us. Here's a peek into that world from someone who has lived it.

Temple Grandin spent her early life, as she says, "goofing off" until a science teacher made her brain light up.

She was born with autism during the 1940s, when people didn't understand it well.

But Grandin has done a lot since those days of goofing off.

She became a professor of animal science at Colorado State University, a best-selling author, a consultant to the livestock industry, and a popular public speaker.


HBO made an award-winning movie about her life, which millions of people saw. (When she talks about "the movie" in the TED Talk below, that's what she's referring to.)

You can watch "Temple Grandin" on HBO or Amazon.

Her main work now is to educate people on how she, like many people with autism and Asperger's, sees things in pictures.

She even suggests that some people in places like Silicon Valley may be on the autism spectrum or they wouldn't have been able to do what they've done.

Image via TED.

Grandin really does think almost completely in images.

As she describes it, when you say "steeple," her mind goes to the first image she knows is a steeple from her childhood church. Then, to the next one.

Kinda like Google Images does, right?

Image via TED.

Autism is still not very well understood, although research — as well as the number of people diagnosed on the autism spectrum — has been increasing.

Data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows that the prevalence of autism spectrum diagnoses has drastically increased since 1970. And Temple was born 28 years before this graph's earliest date.

Image via The Fullerton Informer. And no, vaccinations do not cause autism. Science has proven otherwise, so please do not take away from this anything that's purely fiction.

But there are some things we do know.

Some of them are included in Grandin's TED Talk.

She has some great suggestions for ways to help those on the autism spectrum, too, like these:

  • Educators and parents need to find ways to get people on the spectrum to be engaged and thrilled to be using their unique brains the way they need to in order to make a difference in the world.
  • Understand their reality. She was a "different" kid and adult. She made it work because she found her place and made other humans understand that she didn't function the way that they do. What if we approached other humans on a regular basis with this understanding and empathy? What a wonderful world it would be, indeed.
  • Get to know a family with kids who are differently abled than the rest of us. See what their world is like, and maybe make them feel loved — or at least understood a little better.
  • Spread the word — when you see her movie or TED Talk, pass it around. It's a great place to start a conversation.
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On an old episode of "The Oprah Winfrey Show" in July 1992, Oprah put her audience through a social experiment that puts racism in a new light. Despite being nearly two decades old, it's as relevant today as ever.

She split the audience members into two groups based on their eye color. Those with brown eyes were given preferential treatment by getting to cut the line and given refreshments while they waited to be seated. Those with blue eyes were made to put on a green collar and wait in a crowd for two hours.

Staff were instructed to be extra polite to brown-eyed people and to discriminate against blue-eyed people. Her guest for that day's show was diversity expert Jane Elliott, who helped set up the experiment and played along, explaining that brown-eyed people were smarter than blue-eyed people.

Watch the video to see how this experiment plays out.

Oprah's Social Experiment on Her Audience www.youtube.com

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Cadbury has removed the words from its Dairy Milk chocolate bars in the U.K. to draw attention to a serious issue, senior loneliness.

On September 4, Cadbury released the limited-edition candy bars in supermarkets and for every one sold, the candy giant will donate 30p (37 cents) to Age UK, an organization dedicated to improving the quality of life for the elderly.

Cadbury was prompted to help the organization after it was revealed that 225,000 elderly people in the UK often go an entire week without speaking to another person.

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Well Being

Young people today are facing what seems to be greater exposure to complex issues like mental health, bullying, and youth violence. As a result, teachers are required to be well-versed in far more than school curriculum to ensure students are prepared to face the world inside and outside of the classroom. Acting as more than teachers, but also mentors, counselors, and cheerleaders, they must be equipped with practical and relevant resources to help their students navigate some of the more complicated social issues – though access to such tools isn't always guaranteed.

Take Dr. Jackie Sanderlin, for example, who's worked in the education system for over 25 years, and as a teacher for seven. Entering the profession, she didn't anticipate how much influence a student's home life could affect her classroom, including "students who lived in foster homes" and "lacked parental support."

Dr. Jackie Sanderlin, who's worked in the education system for over 25 years.

Valerie Anglemyer, a middle school teacher with more than 13 years of experience, says it can be difficult to create engaging course work that's applicable to the challenges students face. "I think that sometimes, teachers don't know where to begin. Teachers are always looking for ways to make learning in their classrooms more relevant."

So what resources do teachers turn to in an increasingly fractured world? "Joining a professional learning network that supports and challenges thinking is one of the most impactful things that a teacher can do to support their own learning," Anglemyer says.

Valerie Anglemyer, a middle school teacher with more than 13 years of experience.

A new program for teachers that offers this network along with other resources is the WE Teachers Program, an initiative developed by Walgreens in partnership with ME to WE and Mental Health America. WE Teachers provides tools and resources, at no cost to teachers, looking for guidance around the social issues related to poverty, youth violence, mental health, bullying, and diversity and inclusion. Through online modules and trainings as well as a digital community, these resources help them address the critical issues their students face.

Jessica Mauritzen, a high school Spanish teacher, credits a network of support for providing her with new opportunities to enrich the learning experience for her students. "This past year was a year of awakening for me and through support… I realized that I was able to teach in a way that built up our community, our school, and our students, and supported them to become young leaders," she says.

With the new WE Teachers program, teachers can learn to identify the tough issues affecting their students, secure the tools needed to address them in a supportive manner, and help students become more socially-conscious, compassionate, and engaged citizens.

It's a potentially life-saving experience for students, and in turn, "a great gift for teachers," says Dr. Sanderlin.

"I wish I had the WE Teachers program when I was a teacher because it provides the online training and resources teachers need to begin to grapple with these critical social issues that plague our students every day," she adds.

In addition to the WE Teachers curriculum, the program features a WE Teachers Award to honor educators who go above and beyond in their classrooms. At least 500 teachers will be recognized and each will receive a $500 Walgreens gift card, which is the average amount teachers spend out-of-pocket on supplies annually. Teachers can be nominated or apply themselves. To learn more about the awards and how to nominate an amazing teacher, or sign up for access to the teacher resources available through WE Teachers, visit walgreens.com/metowe.

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One of the major differences between women and men is that women are often judged based on their looks rather than their character or abilities.

"Men as well as women tend to establish the worth of individual women primarily by the way their body looks, research shows. We do not do this when we evaluate men," Naomi Ellemers Ph.D. wrote in Psychology Today.

Dr. Ellers believes that this tendency to judge a woman solely on her looks causes them to be seen as an object rather than a person.

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