“Different, not less.”

Temple Grandin is an American professor of animal science at Colorado State University, consultant to the livestock industry on animal behavior, and autism spokesperson.  She is one of the first individuals on the autism spectrum to publicly share insights from her personal experience of autism.  If you have not yet seen the movie depicting her life growing up with autism, starring Claire Danes, I urge you to do so.

Bucket fillers, Model Citizens, Random acts of Kindness, If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all.  Phrases a lot of people grow up with.  Wondering how to instill qualities to create well rounded citizens?  Here are some tips to teach gratitude, kindness and acceptance starting at any age.

Spend time as a family. Create and strengthen relationships by spending time together.  All ages crave attention.  Put the phone out of reach, turn of the tv, and play.  When children experience love, they are more likely to pass it on.

Exposure to various cultures and people.  Read books that feature cultures and holidays other than your own. Get involved in your community.  Volunteer!

Model. Model. Model. Your little ones are always watching you.  Even when they are not looking at you, they are watching you.  With their ears, bodies, and minds.  And they will mimic your every move.  So be the person you want your daughter to be.  And create a world you want your son to be a part of.

Different, not less.  Don’t be afraid to explain to children why someone looks or sounds different.  And that they are still the same on the inside.  That they can still walk, talk, and play but may do so in a different way.

Development. When babies thrive, we all benefit. Giving babies a strong start in life increases graduation rates, improves the quality of the workforce, improves health, and reduces crime.  Investing in babies’ brain development is one of the most important things we can do to raise healthy, well-rounded adults.  Play is the fundamental building block to learning.  Play is their work.  Play is how babies learn.  By stimulating baby’s senses through play, we can foster strong relationships with caregivers, influential experiences, more restful sleep, and an overall happier baby.  Children who are healthy—socially, emotionally, and physically—have a greater chance of becoming economically productive and engaged citizens.

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