Growing up, Grandin was determined to not let her Autism limit her achievements. She was a social outcast in school, and so her mother enrolled her in a boarding school for gifted children. And, as a high-functioning person with Autism, Grandin did not let her poor interpersonal skills hinder from her following her passion for animals. Grandin earned her doctoral degree in animal science in 1989, and is currently a Professor of Animal Science at Colorado State University.
In the 1980s, Grandin began to speak publically about autism, and in 1995, Grandin gained celebrity by appearing in An Anthropologist on Mars, which describes how Grandin personally feels in social settings. Grandin urges early intervention for Autism, and supportive educational systems.
Grandin believes that her Autism allows her to better understand and connect with animals, and thus leverages her illness to improve slaughterhouse conditions. Grandin moulded her hypersensitivity to noise and sensory stimuli to enable her to detail characteristics for humanely designed slaughterhouses, and has spent her life’s work consulting to industry leaders to change systems, operations and design. Grandin also claims that her Autistic traits help her relate to animal cognition and behaviour. She believes that feelings of being threatened dismissed and feared are shared. And, so, Grandin works with slaughterhouses to alleviate these anxieties for animals by making their lives better before a humane slaughtering.
Both critics and supporters of Grandin agree that Grandin is a philosophical leader and inspiration. However, critics question how an animal-loving ethicist can condone and design the deaths of livestock.
What are your thoughts on Temple Grandin’s work reflecting those diagnosed with Autism?