Temple Grandin is an author, inventor, animal advocate, and proud autistic individual. She was born on August 29, 1947, in Boston, Massachusetts. Temple did not talk until she was three and a half years old. At the time, her mother did not have many resources to understand how her brain worked. She was diagnosed with autism. Temple’s mother worked for years with her to develop her verbal and social skills. With the help of her mother and other mentors, Temple grew into a self-confident, intelligent person. She now spends a lot of her time talking and teaching people about autism spectrum disorder.
Temple Grandin’s life revolves around her work with animals. In fact, she often speaks about how her own experience with autism influences her work with animals. She gets stressed and anxious when she is in big groups and other social situations. She wants to make sure animals don’t experience this same stress. She also thinks in pictures. If someone says, “think of a boat,” she thinks of many specific boats she has seen before. Her brain is like a slideshow of images. She realized that, similar to her, animals respond to visual distractions such as chains, shadows, or machinery. Animals begin to get excited and can get hurt easily. By taking away these distractions, cattle farmers can limit an animal’s stress and give it a better life. She used these connections with animals to design a new way of restraining, or holding, them. This invention was called a center track conveyor restrainer system. It is now used in many cattle farms across the United States.
Temple believes her autism has benefited her greatly and given her the skills to help improve the lives of animals. She has been a champion for neurodiversity. She believes the world needs different kinds of minds to work together. And she believes it is important to train teachers to support children who have different skills and challenges. In high school, Temple had a science teacher who supported her and became her mentor. He helped her gain self-confidence and realize she had an ability to connect with animals. Temple Grandin hopes all neurodiverse children could have this kind of teacher who pushes them to be their best self.