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Temple Grandin is a noted animal expert and advocate for autistic populations who has penned the books Animals in Translation and Animals Make Us Human.
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She has described her hypersensitivity to noise and other sensory stimuli, which can make socializing painful in addition to being dull. She is a primarily visual thinker who considers verbal communication to be a secondary skill. Grandin also has an extreme sensitivity to detail and environmental change,
which she credits for her insight into the minds of cattle and domesticated animals.
Grandin has taken strong positions on autism and the education of autistic children. She advocates early intervention, including the training of teachers to direct each child’s specific fixations. She is a champion of “neurodiversity” and has opposed the notion of a comprehensive cure for autism. She argues that her contributions to the field of animal welfare would not have been possible without the insights and sensitivities that are a consequence of her autism.
Grandin has been recognized by the academic community and the general public for her work. In 2009, she was named a fellow of the American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers. She is the recipient of several honorary degrees, and has been featured on a range of television and radio programs.
In 2010, HBO released a film entitled Temple Grandin, starring actress Claire Danes. The movie received 15 Emmy Award nominations and won five, including the Emmy for outstanding made for television movie and best actress in a drama (Danes). Grandin appeared on stage during the ceremony, making her own brief remarks to the crowd. Danes also won a Golden Globe (best performance by an actress in a mini-series or motion picture made for television) for her role in Temple Grandin.
Grandin has cited her lack of interest in emotional issues and relationships, including fictional representations of interpersonal relationships. She is unmarried and has no children.
In her writing, particularly her memoir Thinking in Pictures, Grandin explains the ways in which autism shapes her daily life. She wears soft and comfortable clothes to balance her sensory integration dysfunction, and avoids sensory overload at all costs. As a teenager, Grandin designed a "squeeze machine" based on the containers used to pacify cattle during immunizations. She found that the structure had a significant therapeutic benefit, helping her to manage her anxiety.
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