Who is Temple Grandin:

Mary Temple Grandin (born August 29, 1947) is an American scientist and animal behaviorist. Grandin is one of the first autists to document the insights she gained from her personal experience of autism. She is a prominent proponent for the humane treatment of livestock for slaughter and the author of more than 60 scientific papers on animal behavior. Grandin is a consultant to the livestock industry, where she offers advice on animal behavior, and is also an autism spokesperson. She is currently a faculty member with Animal Sciences in the College of Agricultural Sciences at Colorado State University. Dr. Temple Grandin has a unique ability to understand the animal mind – and she's convinced her skill is down to her autistic brain. She is known as the woman who thinks like a "COW".

Temple Grandin is world-famous for being a high-functioning person with autism, but there is so much more to her than that. As she puts it, for her, "being a scientist comes before being autistic."

She is internationally famous as a spokesperson on autism. Grandin was not formally diagnosed with autism until her adulthood. As a two-year-old, the only formal diagnosis given to Grandin was "brain damage", a finding finally dismissed through cerebral imaging at the University of Utah by the time she turned 63 in 2010. While Grandin was still in her mid-teens, her mother chanced upon a diagnostic checklist for autism. After reviewing the checklist, Grandin's mother hypothesised that Grandin's symptoms were best explained by the disorder and was later determined to be an autistic savant.

When she was young, she was considered weird and teased and bullied in high school. The only place she had friends was activities where there was a shared interest such as horses, electronics, or model rockets. Mr. Carlock, her science teacher, was an important mentor who encouraged her interest in science. When she had a new goal of becoming a scientist, she had a reason for studying. Today half the cattle in the United States are handled in facilities she has designed.

What has Temple Grandin done for the world of Autism:

    Temple Grandin has invented a Hug Machine, also known as a hug box, a squeeze machine, or a squeeze box, is a deep-pressure device designed to calm hypersensitive persons, usually individuals with autism spectrum disorders.

    The idea first came to Dr. Grandin while observing cattle chutes on her aunt's farm. She noticed the chutes - which function similarly to what eventually became the hug machine - helped to noticeably calm the cattle as they passed through. It was after this experience when Dr. Grandin realized that the cattle were coming out of the chute calmer than when they went in.

    She hoped to create a similar effect with the hug machine, which she originally constructed to alleviate her own symptoms. She never intended to share her design publicly but decided to expand her research to determine whether others could benefit in the same ways she had, and the modern hug machine was born. Today, the machine is now an essential tool in helping to provide sensory benefits to children and adults with autism - and its design allows them to adjust the amount of pressure the device delivers on their own. Bancroft has two hug machines currently in use at The Bancroft School.

  2. She is internationally famous as a spokesperson on autism.

  3. Dr. Grandin also became a prominent author and speaker on autism.

  4. She has a website on autism community - http://www.grandin.com/

  5. She teaches, mentors students

  6. She has authored books on autism

Books written by her:


In 2010, Grandin was named in the Time 100 list of the one hundred most influential people in the world, in the "Heroes" category. In 2011, she received a Double Helix Medal, She has received honorary degrees from many universities including McGill University in Canada (1999), and the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences (2009), Carnegie Mellon University in the United States (2012), and Emory University (2016). In 2015, she was named an honorary fellow of the Society for Technical Communication.
In 2011, Grandin was awarded the Ashoka Fellowship.
In 2012, Grandin was inducted into the Colorado Women's Hall of Fame.
In 2012, Grandin was inducted into the Texas Trail of Fame.
In 2012, she was inducted into the Hall of Great Westerners of the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum.
Grandin received a Meritorious Achievement Award from the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) in 2015.
In 2016, Grandin was inducted into the American Academy of Arts and Sciences
In 2017, Grandin was inducted into the National Women's Hall of Fame

5 things you should know about Temple Grandin

1. She is a pioneer in the field of animal sciences.

Temple Grandin earned both her masters and doctoral degrees in animal sciences, and has been a professor at Colorado State University for more than 20 years.

According to Grandin, her autistic senses and emotions are very similar to those of animals and give her the ability to analyze situations using sensory-based data instead of language. Her designs for humane livestock handling systems have greatly improved animal welfare and quality standards in the meat and livestock industries.

"In my work with cattle, I noticed a lot of little things that most people don't notice would make the cattle balk," she explains in her 2010 TED Talk. "For example, this flag waving right in front of the veterinary facility. This feed yard was going to tear down their whole veterinary facility; all they needed to do was move the flag."

2. She is one of the most influential people in the world.

TIME Magazine's annual "TIME 100" list honors the world's leaders, trailblazers and icons. Each year, the publication highlights the accomplishments of individuals from a wide variety of backgrounds and industries. Temple Grandin was featured on the list of 2010 honorees alongside Barack Obama, Oprah Winfrey and Steve Jobs.

"But as with many psychological disorders, autism is a spectrum, and Temple is on one edge. Living on this edge has allowed her to be an extraordinary source of inspiration for autistic children, their parents — and all people. She is also a source of hope for another mammal: the cow. Using her unique window into the minds of animals, she has developed corrals for cattle that improve their quality of life by reducing stress."TIME 100

Read Temple Grandin's full TIME 100 profile.

3. HBO made a movie about her life.

In 2010, HBO produced an award-winning film about Temple Grandin's childhood, career and accomplishments. Christopher Monger and William Merritt Johnson based the screenplay for the "visually inventive" biopic on her books "Emergence" and "Thinking in Pictures."

The movie was directed by Mick Jackson and stars Claire Danes, Julia Ormond, Catherine O'Hara and David Strathairn. "Temple Grandin" won several Primetime Emmy Awards, and Danes earned a Golden Globe and Screen Actors Guild Award for her portrayal of Grandin.

4. She was recently named to the National Women's Hall of Fame.

In February, the National Women's Hall of Fame named Temple Grandin to its list of 2017 nominees. She is one of 10 inductees who will be honored this year, joining more than 250 of the country's most influential women in the Hall's ranks.

"Honoring Dr. Temple Grandin in this esteemed group of women not only speaks to the power of her research and advocacy, but also her impact as a role model for young women everywhere.

Early in her career, her determination helped her break into what was a largely male-dominated animal production industry, and she continues to serve as an advocate for women in the sciences, for young people with autism, and for anyone unwilling to let artificial boundaries stand in the way of their personal and professional success."

– Colorado State University President Tony Frank

The 2017 National Women's Hall of Fame induction ceremony takes place in historic Seneca Falls, New York, in September.

5. She is an established author.

Despite the fact that she did not speak until she was nearly four years old, early therapy and interventions enabled Temple Grandin to become one of the first individuals with autism to share their experiences and perspectives with the world.

Grandin has written extensively on both autism and animal science. She has authored or co-authored dozens of books and peer-reviewed scientific papers on a wide variety of topics including autism, livestock handling, environmental enrichment and animal safety.

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