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Temple Grandin

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Uploaded on Feb 12, 2010

Grandin was born in Boston, Massachusetts, to Richard Grandin and Eustacia Cutler. She was diagnosed as autistic in 1950. Having been labeled and diagnosed with brain damage at age two, she was placed in a structured nursery school with what she considers to have been good teachers. Grandin's mother spoke to a doctor who suggested speech therapy, and she hired a nanny who spent hours playing turn-based games with Grandin and her sister.

At age four, Grandin began talking, and she began making progress. She considers herself lucky to have had supportive mentors from primary school onwards. However, Grandin has said that middle school and high school were the worst parts of her life. She was the "nerdy kid", the one whom everyone teased and picked on. She would be walking down the street and people would say "tape recorder", because she would repeat things over and over again. Grandin states that "I could laugh about it now, but back then it really hurt".

After graduating from Hampshire Country School, a boarding school for gifted children in Rindge, New Hampshire in the 1960s, Grandin went on to college. She received her bachelor's degree in psychology from Franklin Pierce College (also located in Rindge) in 1970, her master's degree in animal science from Arizona State University in 1975, and her Ph.D. in animal science from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in 1989.
"I first met Temple in the mid-1980s ...[at the] annual [ASA] conference.... Standing on the periphery of the group was a tall young woman who was obviously interested in the discussions. She seemed shy and pleasant, but mostly she just listened.... I learned her name was Temple Grandin... It wasn't until later in the week that I realized she was someone with autism....I approached her and asked if she'd be willing to speak at the next year's [ASA] conference. She agreed....The next year... Temple first addressed an [ASA] audience.... people were standing at least three deep....The audience couldn't get enough of her. Here, for the first time, was someone who could tell us from her own experience what it was like to be extremely sound sensitive ("like being tied to the rail and the train's coming")... She was asked many questions: "Why does my son do so much spinning?" "Why does he hold his hands to his ears? "Why doesn't he look at me?" She spoke from her own experience, and her insight was impressive. There were tears in more than one set of eyes that day.... Temple quickly became a much sought-after speaker in the autism community."

Grandin has also been featured on major television programs, such as ABC's Primetime Live, the Today Show, and Larry King Live, and written up in Time magazine, People magazine, Forbes, and The New York Times. She was the subject of the Horizon documentary "The Woman Who Thinks Like A Cow," first broadcast by the BBC on June 8, 2006 and Nick News in the spring of 2006. She has also been a subject in the series First Person by Errol Morris. She is the focus of a semi-biographical HBO film, titled Temple Grandin, starring Claire Danes as Grandin. The film was released in 2010.
Based on personal experience, Grandin advocates early intervention to address autism, and supportive teachers who can direct fixations of the autistic child in fruitful directions. She has described her hypersensitivity to noise and other sensory stimuli. She claims she is a primarily visual thinker[6] and has said that language is her second language. Temple attributes her success as a humane livestock facility designer to her ability to recall detail, which is a characteristic of her visual memory. Grandin compares her memory to full-length movies in her head that can be replayed at will, allowing her to notice small details that would otherwise be overlooked. She is also able to view her memories using slightly different contexts by changing the positions of the lighting and shadows.

Despite this anxiety, she has stated that, "If I could snap my fingers and become nonautistic I would not do so. Autism is part of who I am."

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