Dr. Temple Grandin, Autism, and How Animals Make Us Human
Animal Specialist and Genius
Temple Grandin combines a history of effective teaching skills, maximizing human potentials, industrial design, and cattle ranching to show us how to advocate for individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorder and for animals of many species.
Her recent lectures are incredible accounts of how she accomplished unexpected and useful design and teaching methods that help people, livestock, and pets. Animal therapy and companionship have been successful in helping lessen the symptoms of a range of physical and psychological conditions, but Temple Grandin facilitates people and animals helping one another.
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An Autistic Genius
Temple Grandin, PhD has been called the most accomplished person with autism in the world. She credits close educational mentoring with her parents from an early age, the accumulation of life experiences that she retains mentally and accesses like an Internet repository, and her development of her own characteristic "thinking in pictures" in choosing a career in industrial design applied in animal science. She also advocates problem-solving education and play time for children at an early age, and focusing on each child's natural inclinations in talents and gifts and developing those.
One on one attention and education from parents are vital to an autistic child and Dr. Grandin received that from her own parents in the late 1940s and 1950s. A college freshman I know received this as well, even though doctors at his birth said he would need to be immediately institutionalized with autism. The parental attention, along with small class size in his schools K-12, and extra attention from his church all helped very much in making him symptom free today in 2011. His four dogs also helped, just as working with horses helped Temple Grandin as a teen. Austin and Dr. Grandin are both geniuses.
This reminds me of the original language, Hebrew version of the Old Testament scripture in the Book Proverbs (a book of treachings about how to live among people):
PROVERBS 22:6 -- Give instruction to a youth about his way, Even when he is old he turneth not from it. Young's Literal Translation into English.
This verse does not mean to force a child to fit a mold or dscipline or a morally correct way, but to train him or her in identified natural abilities to achieve success. Parents need ot be able to see each child's talents and potentials, much like recongnizing those of the Multiple Intelligences a child demonstrates (usually three).
Temple Grandin (2010), Starring Claire Danes
Food and Dining Industry Changes
The HBO cable TV movie about Dr. Grandin's life in 2010 won seven Emmy Awards. The world of ranching and the livestock of America won in a bigger way. Fast Food Nationwell illustrated in book and film how horrible the livestock raising and slaughterhouse industry of America has been. Dr. Temple Grandin work in ranching/livestock handling systems design and audited livestock handling and slaughter of cattle used by McDonald's and Wendy's in the 1970s and 1980s and was able to bring about useful and humane changes as well as healthier animal products for consumption. She advocates free range livestock raising.
Dr. Grandin also helped to bring the livestock squeeze shute into a better final design. She spent time with horses and on an aunt's ranch in high school and saw a squeeze shute used to hold and calm an animal for veterinary examination. She was able to refine the design for greater effectiveness in her work as an industrial designer.
In addition, Grandin designed a padded edition for her own home use, since deep pressure helps to calm her so that she may think more effectively. Deep pressure is found by occupational therapists to aid Asperger's clients and others by calming down the mind and body so that sensory messages that are not being processed can make more sense.
Next Animals to Help
Dr. Grandin points out in her lectures and books that chickens need help now. Some of the living conditions on egg farms are very poor and abusive. In fact, one large egg farm was closed by the US Dept. of Agriculture in Central Ohio recently.
Chickens that are bred and treated to become prolific egg layers can become agitated and cannibalistic. Dr. Grandin feels that breeding for one characteristic such as egg-laying in chickens or an appearance trait in dogs will weaken the species, shorten life spans, and allow diseases and conditions to proliferate.
Livestock Behavior, Design of Facilities, and Humane Slaughter
- Dr. Temple Grandin's Official Autism Website
Also visit the livestock link on the site for information about and effects of Kosher and Halal slaughter.
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