Temple Grandin: The Animal Scientist and Autism Advocate
Temple Grandin is an American scientist, innovator, professor, and advocate for those with autism. She is an animal scientist who has revolutionized the way animals are handled for livestock production. Grandin is one of the world’s most recognized and celebrated public figures on the autism spectrum.
Early Life and Diagnosis of Autism
Grandin was born on August 29, 1947, in Boston, Massachusetts. She was the first child of Richard and Eustacia Grandin and was diagnosed with autism as a toddler. Despite the doctor’s prediction that Temple would never talk, she eventually began to do so.
Grandin’s Love of Animals and Discovery of Her Special Interest
Grandin’s lifelong passion and special interest in animals began when she was young. She remembers looking at animals in books and television shows like “Davy Crockett” and “Lassie’ with interest and fascination. She even kept her bedroom full of stuffed animals, which was typical of children with autism.
Running on the Farm: from Sensory Stimulation to Visionary
With much pushing from her mother, Grandin attended boarding school, eventually attending college and graduating with two bachelor’s degrees: one in psychology and one in anthropology. Grandin spent every summer and every vacation visiting her aunt’s farm. Running and seeing livestock fascinated Grandin. She watched them tirelessly, leading her to believe how their behavior and needs present a parallel to humans.
Grandin Ascends Into the Field of Animal Science
Grandin ascended to the science world when she started her graduate program and research in animal science. She published her first scientific paper in 1975 and earned her doctorate degree in animal science in 1989.
Highlighting Her Achievements
Grandin is undoubtedly a great success in her field. She wrote over 400 articles, speaking engagements, and lectures every year. She participated in over 40 professional animal industry conferences as well as speaking at many universities worldwide.
Grandin attained numerous awards, including many awards from the livestock industry. She is renowned for her innovative approaches and designs to livestock handling, which revolutionized the industry and decreased the amount of fear and stress animals experienced while going through livestock production.
In 2010, she was the subject of the Emmy Award-winning HBO film titled “Temple Grandin,” which featured her extraordinary life and struggles with autism.
Grandin Continues to Push for Animal Rights
Grandin has taken her work with animals further, advocating for their rights and treating them humanely. Following her mission of helping animals, Grandin established A FARM Animal Rights Movement (AFAM) in 1999.
The aim of the organization was to support and stop the confinement, disfigurement, and death of countless numbers of animals for the production of food, clothing, and other animal-based products throughout the world.
Work with the Autism Community
Having autism, Grandin naturally became an advocate for autistic people as well. Grandin uses her platform to educate the public about autism and create a lasting change in the lives of autistic people.
Grandin started her engagement with the autism community in 1997 when she established the Autism and Animal Resources (ATAR) organization. She used her platform to ensure that autistic people are fully represented in the media and society.
Grandin provides advice and guidance to other autistic individuals via email, social media, and talk shows. She addresses the concerns of families personally and offers her insights on how to manage and raise children with autism. Grandin also developed a program for autistic mainstreaming in which she provides autistic children and their families with strategies and techniques for adjusting to mainstream schooling.
Temple Grandin is an inspiration to all. Her vision and contributions to animal rights, animal science, and autism advocacy are unparalleled.
Grandin is a true pioneer and has positively impacted the lives of many animals, autistic people, and their families. Her vision of inclusivity, animal rights, and empathy has inspired many and will no doubt continue to do so.