In her early years Temple Grandin had doctors completely stumped, and kids who were mentally ‘challenged’ in that era would ordinarily be institutionalised. Her mother was adamant; this wouldn’t be the fate of her daughter. She spent many years going through psychological testing, therapy and analysis. Speech therapy helped her to be able to communicate, but it’s still a constant challenge for Dr Grandin to assimilate with the world in her public life.
Spending a holiday on a farm with family members when she was a young girl was a pivotal moment for this extraordinary woman. Temple discovered she could empathise with the livestock far better than she could with her fellow man.
So, her name may be somewhat familiar to you. She’s known as one of the first autistic people to write an autobiography, and is a world renowned animal behaviourist.
In the US, she helped to revolutionize the abattoir industry. Creating a far more humane situation for beasts meant a better product, and by achieving this brought great respect from those in positions of power.
There’s a great BBC documentary, The woman who thinks like a cow, and a HBO film on Dr. Grandin if you want to see more, and numerous books of both autism and animal behaviours if you want to read more.
The Autistic Brain: Thinking Across the Spectrum
Hardcover, 206 pages
Published April 30th 2013 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (first published January 1st 2013)
ISBN0547636458 (ISBN13: 9780547636450)