Have you ever heard of a curved loading chute, or a center track restrainer system? Or maybe you’ve heard of the squeeze machine? No? Well, these are all the inventions of an autistic mind. This mind in particular, is the mind of Temple Grandin. Temple Grandin is one of the most pivotal, most intriguing, and most intelligent minds in the world. Temple Grandin has made many strides in the world of autism. She has written books, talked on podcasts, TED talks & has a national award winning movie named after her. The movie that dawns her name is a movie with Claire Danes. She plays a young, shy, scared, confused & enthusiastic Temple, who eventually learns about her autism, what makes her tick, and ultimately what makes her special. But it doesn’t start off with rainbows & smiles. It took her a while to realize what her potential was. Temple had a hard time in school, at least according to her books. She struggled in class because the teacher only talked about what was being taught, not showing the students (i.e. Temple) what they were supposed to be learning. One thing about Temple that is cool, is that she freely admits to not knowing everything. Temple knows that there is new stuff about autism that comes out everyday. For someone as important as her, you’d think she’d be the most stuck up person in the world. But she is one of the most humbling people.
She then started learning more about her autism (& autism in general) while researching animals. That passion led her to get a Ph.D. in animal science. In this book, she relates autism in humans to animals & how similar they really are to us. She also states that we can learn more from animals about autism & the human mind in general. I’m currently reading one of her books right now called The Autistic Brain; Helping Different Kinds of People Succeed. It’s absolutely brilliant. There’s so much knowledge to learn. In this book, there are many diagrams & graphs explaining correlations & differences of the average thinker to an autistc thinker. There’s pictures of autistic brains vs. non-autistic brains. There’s a whole section in the back of this book that lists jobs for each type of autistic thinker, which is pretty awesome that she took the time to compile lists to make an autistic person’s life easier. There’s an appendix AQ test at the end of the book. In other words, it’s a test that might give you hindsight on the world of autism & if/how autism affects you. I do have to add however, that this AQ test IS NOT AN ACTUAL DIAGNOSIS, & PLEASE DO NOT TAKE IT AS SUCH! If you are serious about getting a diagnosis, please seek a medical doctor.
Temple is also a picture thinker. Meaning, if her mother told her that she was upset, Temple would see her mothers face with a frowning expression in her mind. Or when she was told to stop, she pictured a red stop sign. But not just any stop sign, one from her childhood. According to Temple, everything that she sees is from one specific place or another. She talks more about her “picture learning” in The World Needs All Kinds of Minds, which is a TED talk on youtube. I highly recommend watching it. Temple is easily one of the world’s brightest minds & she uses her countless gifts & talents to help the world of autism. I can say, working at an autistic school, there are a lot of practices that we have here that she helped create. They all work, & quite well. I mean, just think if one of your practice’s were to be taught at a school?. I can’t. But for Temple, it’s a reality. She’s such a fascinating person. A person I look up to & admire very much. She’s a force to be reckoned with. I can’t wait to see what else she’ll surprise us with next.