Thank You, Temple Grandin

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“I am different, not less.”  -  Temple Grandin

This week we continue our focus on World Autism Awareness Month by talking about a hero within the autism community and beyond.  We are talking about Temple Grandin.  

Mary Temple Grandin was born in Boston, Massachusetts in 1947.  She was diagnosed with ASD at an early age and barely spoke before the age of four.  In spite of challenges growing up, she inevitably graduated with a doctoral degree in animal science from the University of Illinois in 1989.

Here are some more interesting facts about this amazing woman:

  • Temple Grandin invented the “hug machine” (also called the “squeeze box” and “hug box”) at the age of 18.  It was a device used to calm hypersensitive people.  
  • Temple works closely with the livestock industry, consulting on topics such as animal behavior and ethical treatment.  
  • In 2010, Temple Grandin was listed as one of Time Magazine’s 100 most influential people in the world in the category of “Hero.”  
  • The Center-Track restraint system she invented is currently used to handle almost half of all the cattle in North America.  It helps reduce stress and injuries.
  • Temple has authored or co-authored a dozen books, and over 60 peer reviewed scientific papers.
  • She won the 2011 Double Helix medal for positively impacting human health by raising awareness.  In 2009, Temple was named a fellow of the American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers.
  • She received a Meritorious Achievement Award from the World Organization for Animal Health in 2015, she was inducted into the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 2016, and was inducted into the National Women’s Hall of Fame in 2017.
  • Temple is a big Science Fiction fan, especially Star Trek.

Temple shows us that autism should not be considered a disability.  It’s a different ability, a way of thinking that has value.  It’s this different ability that allows those with ASD an opportunity to contribute something unique, to see something from a new angle, and to shake up stagnant and antiquated ideas with inventiveness and innovation.  

Temple once said “If I could snap my fingers and be nonautistic, I would not.  Autism is part of what I am.”   The world is more knowing and caring and less painful and scary because of what you are.  Thank you Temple Grandin.  We hope you have a great day.