Last week I had the privilege and honor of attending a conference hosted by one Dr. Temple Grandin.

One word: Wow.

Once again, I thought I knew all there was to know about autism. I thought I had read it all, heard it all, seen it all.

Nope. Not even close.

Dr. Grandin said A LOT of really amazing things. The fascinating part about listening to her is that she speaks not only as a PhD, but as an autistic person herself...........what an absolute GIFT it is to get the REAL perspective from her not just from a "clinical" perspective, but from a "real" perspective. As the talks, it's almost hard to listen and focus because you are so in awe of all this woman has accomplished.

Temple said something that just keeps haunting me. My friend Michelle and I looked at the slide and then looked at each other.........not saying a word but just sharing that, "Holy $hit," moment.

"Fear is the main emotion of autism."

What? I thought it was frustration, maybe anger...but fear? FEAR? FEAR!?

Maybe she's got it wrong. What does she know. She's just like all those other "know it all PhD" types. Oh wait, no she's not. She herself has autism.

I just wanted to run home and cuddle Luke. Tell him I'm sorry for every moment that *I* was ever frustrated with him. Apologize for every cue I ever missed.... every moment he tried to tell me something with his eyes that I just didn't get. Give myself 1,000 lashings for every time I FORCED him to Target kicking and screaming and screaming and screaming. And not understanding, not having the ability to grasp that what he was screaming about was not even the fact that the lights potentially irritated his eyes but that perhaps he was *afraid* of the lights all along.

Oh man, I could go on like this all night.............but I have to ignore that pang of guilt in the pit of my stomach. What's done is done and I need to move on. Right?

I could also go on all night how I hung on every single word that Temple had to say. How I sat there mesmerized by her speech patterns and the way she jumped from topic to topic and the rest of us just got to hang on for the ride. How with every word she spoke, every joke she told, I kept thinking, "Wow her mother is a really amazing woman." Because let's just put it out there, back in the 1950's ~ they didn't even HAVE "early intervention." They had sanitariums. And kudos to Eustacia Cutler for refusing that route for her daughter. Because if she hadn't....we may not have the Temple Grandin that we are all inspired by today. I mean, Temple Grandin has an utterly incredible, awe inspiring body of work. And someone, scratch that -- many people -- wanted to LOCK HER IN AN INSTITUTION. Lock her brilliant brain up in a padded room for the rest of her life. What a life you have led, Dr. Grandin and I thank you for sharing it with us all.

I've lived with autism for a few years now. I do my homework people. I really thought I knew what was going on. But I had no idea. And if you think you know it all, or if you have no idea at all, I STRONGLY recommend you click below to watch this utterly amazing presentation by Dr. Temple Grandin. It's almost the exact presentation I saw. It gives the science, the emotion, and the biology of what autism looks like. All told by an autistic person herself. It really doesn't get much more comprehensive than this.

Click here to watch Temple's presentation on YouTube

Click here to vote for Temple Grandin as one of Time Magazine's top 100 influential people