Skip to main content

Temple Grandin

Dorsett Fellow - Spring 2004

Lecture: "Fighting Animal Suffering" (April 29, 2004)

Temple Grandin Photo

BIOGRAPHY - Temple Grandin, Ph.D., is inarguably the most accomplished and well-known adult with autism in the world. She has been featured on major television programs, such as "ABC's Primetime Live", the "Today Show", "Larry King Live", "48 Hours" and "20/20" and written up in national publications, such as Time magazine, People magazine, Forbes, U.S. News and World Report, and New York Times. Among numerous other recognitions by media, Bravo Cable did a half-hour show on her life, and she was one of the "challenged" people featured in the best-selling book, Anthropologist from Mars.

Dr. Grandin didn't talk until she was three and a half years old, communicating her frustration instead by screaming, peeping and humming. In 1950, she was labeled "autistic," and her parents were told she should be institutionalized. She tells her story of "groping her way from the far side of darkness" in her book Emergence: Labeled Autistic, a book which stunned the world because, until its publication, most professionals and parents assumed being diagnosed "autistic" was virtually a death sentence to achievement or productivity in life.

Dr. Grandin has become a prominent author and speaker on the subject of autism because "I have read enough to know that there are still many parents, and, yes, professionals, too, who believe that 'once autistic, always autistic.' This dictum has meant sad and sorry lives for many children diagnosed, as I was in early life, as autistic. To these people, it is incomprehensible that the characteristics of autism can be modified and controlled. However, I feel strongly that I am living proof that they can." (Taken from Emergence: Labeled Autistic)

Even though she was considered "weird" in her young school years, she eventually found a mentor, who recognized her interests and abilities, which she later expanded into becoming a successful livestock handling equipment designer, one of very few in the world. She has designed the facilities in which half the cattle are handled in the United States, consulting for firms such as Burger King, McDonald's, Swift and others.

She presently works as an Associate Professor at Colorado State University but also speaks around the world on both autism and cattle handling.

Dr. Grandin's current best seller is Animals in Translation. She also authored the best seller - Thinking in Pictures and Other Reports From My Life With Autism and produced videos - "Visual Thinking," "Sensory," "Careers" and "Medications" VHS; and Dr. Temple Grandin (DVD), which can be obtained from Future Horizons. At every Future Horizons' conference on autism, the audience rates her presentation as 10++; her books have drawn equally-superlative reviews.

 

Photo of Temple Grandin courtesy of her website: www.grandin.com

Last Updated: 5/8/09