Born in 1947 in Boston, Massachusetts, Temple Grandin did not speak until she was three and a half. She was diagnosed with autism, and the experts of the time urged her parents to put her in an institution.
- In the 1940s, people believed that neglectful parenting caused autism, especially from the child’s mother.
- However, Temple’s mother was very involved in her life. She hired speech pathologists to work with Temple. Temple played board games to learn how to take turns and work with others.
- When she was eight, Temple’s mother asked her to host a party. The young girl greeted people and took their coats. All these experiences helped Temple learn social skills.
- Although Temple was bright, school was hard for her. She was often teased and bullied. She loved science, horses, and other animals. She joined clubs related to these interests and made friends there.
- Temple was expelled from her junior high school because she threw a book at a classmate. The classmate often teased Temple, calling her tape recorder because of her tendency to repeat speech.
- Temple went to a private boarding school for high school. There she met William Carlock, a former NASA scientist and science teacher. He became a friend and mentor.
- Carlock encouraged Temple to invent a hug machine, a device that helps calm people with autism. He continued to support her when she went to college. Temple eventually earned graduate degrees in animal science.
- Like many people with autism, Temple thinks and learns in pictures. She is also able to understand how animals are feeling.
- Temple began developing humane and efficient systems for handling cows at feedlots. Her systems are now used all over the world.
- Temple became a professor of animal science at Colorado State University.
- She also became an advocate for others with autism. She has written several books on the subject and often gives lectures.
- Expel: remove or force out
- Mentor: someone who offers support, training, and advice
- Humane: kind
Questions and Answers
Question: What does Temple believe about people with autism?
Answer: Temple has written that we need to focus less on children’s challenges and more on their strengths. We need to be flexible about education, knowing that some children might have a hard time with reading, writing, or math, but they might be brilliant in another area.
Visit Temple Grandin’s website to learn more.