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Temple Grandin the doctor of animal science/best-selling author and expert on autism and inspiration for the HBO movie that bears her name will be in Salt Lake City on Thursday, Nov. 3, to accept the Peek Award for Disability in Media.
The new award, which will be presented at 7 p.m. at the Rose Wagner Theatre, honors a subject, director or actor in a film that sheds new light on disabilities and heightens social awareness. It's named in honor of Utahn Kim Peek (1951-2009), who worked to increase awareness of disability through the media and improve education for children with disabilities. Peek helped inspire Dustin Hoffman's savant character in "Rain Man."
Grandin, who has high-functioning autism, has been a longtime advocate for autistic children. Her profile was raised considerably with the premiere of "Temple Grandin" on HBO last year. The telefilm won seven Emmys, including best TV movie and best actress in a TV movie for Claire Danes.
"The thing about autism is as you learn more and more and more, you keep getting less and less autistic-like," Grandin said shortly before the movie aired on HBO. "You keep getting better and better. People tell me my talks today at 60 are better than my talks at age 50.
"The thing about autistic thinking is as I learn more and more things and experience more and more things, it's like filling up the Internet inside my head. So I have more experiences to draw from. It's important to get autistic kids out doing different things."
Not everyone with autism is the same, however.
"I want to emphasize, autism is a big spectrum ranging from somebody who is going to remain nonverbal all the way up to famous scientists," Grandin said. "You would have no technical equipment here. You would have no hotel here if you didn't have people that were interested in things.
"Because after all, who do you think made the first stone spear? It wasn't the yackity yacks around the campfire, that's for sure."
After accepting the award, Grandin will take questions from the audience.
For more information, call 801-355-2787
An Evening with Temple Grandin
When: Thursday, Nov. 3, at 7 p.m.
Where: Rose Wagner Theatre, 138 W. Broadway, Salt Lake City
Tickets: Free admission