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As a child, Temple Grandin believed everyone thought in pictures. Words were like a second language to her.

The celebrated animal scientist and most well-known American with autism will deliver the keynote address Saturday, March 6, at the University of Wisconsin Oshkosh conference “Planting the Seeds of Inclusion: Supporting All Children.”

The movie “Temple Grandin,” which depicts Grandin’s life of great challenges and  successes and stars Claire Danes, premiered in early February on HBO.

Although she was diagnosed with autism in 1950 and was unable to talk until she was 4 years old, Grandin has become a prominent author and national speaker about autism as well as a noted animal behaviorist and designer of humane livestock facilities.

“Dr. Grandin will share the importance of classroom inclusion for children with a variety of disability labels,” said UWO assistant education professor Stacey Skoning. “She will talk about what it was like growing up with autism and why children with disabilities need to be included in regular classrooms.”

The goal of the conference, hosted by the University’s curriculum and instruction, reading and special education departments, is to bring together educators, therapists, parents and other professionals who support the growth and learning of all children, from birth through age 22, in inclusive settings.

Training and support related to effective inclusive practice will be provided to local teachers who attend the conference.

Opening remarks and the keynote address will be held 9-10:30 a.m. in the Reeve Memorial Union Ballroom. A variety of breakout sessions, covering topics such as identifying students for special education services and Wisconsin’s new definitions of learning disabilities, will follow in Clow.

Cost of the conference is $60 for professional educators and $30 for UWO students and family members of children with disabilities.

Grandin also will appear March 5 at the Wisconsin Diary and Beef Husbandry Conference in Kimberly and at the Northeast Wisconsin Technical College in Green Bay.

Photo by Angus Bremner, Bremner Photo.