Temple Grandin is an amazing individual diagnosed at age 2 (1949) with autism. This diagnosis was accompanied with a label of having brain damage
as well as a recommendation of institutionalization. This very same woman holds a doctoral degree, teaches at a University, has made significant contributions in animal sciences, is an author, has had a movie made about her extraordinary life, and writes and speaks prolifically about autism based on her personal experiences.
An HBO docudrama was made about Temple Grandin’s life called “Thinking in Pictures: My Life with Autism”. An interesting part of the movie portrays the importance mentorship has been to Temple’s learning process, her educational pursuits (earned three degrees –a bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral), her subsequent work and contributions in the field of animal sciences. Temple has spoken of being inspired early in life, by her science teacher and how that teacher’s recognition of her as a visual learner, helped her to utilize her gifts to benefit science but to overcome many barriers that may have otherwise prohibited her in her academic quest and subsequently, limited the contributions she has made in her field.
In Feb. 2010 Temple Grandin presented on autism in a TedTalk
. During this presentation, Temple described some of the ways in which her mind think, as well as to describe ways in which other minds think and process information. After which she equated ways of thinking with careers and paralleled her own thinking ways with her academic/career achievements. Most importantly during this TedTalk was the message that all minds and all ways of thinking are important to nurture and to develop, not only for the sake of each individual, but as a benefit to humanity.
This amazing individual who didn’t talk until at least three years old, was labelled with a diagnosis and a recommendation that she be institutionalized with no hope of a life or future that included any meaningful achievement or productivity has become a world renowned author and speaker on autism based on and in her personal story of achievements and successes that she attributes, in part because she has autism and Temple when asked, has said that she wouldn't have it any other way. So, this is an excerpt to celebrate the powerful mind and life of a woman who lives the words she gave to one of her many book titles, “Different, Not Less”.