Friday, February 26, 2010

Temple Grandin

Meet my new hero: Temple Grandin. Arguably the best spokesperson for people living with autism, she continues to make her mark not despite having the condition, but because of it. "If I could snap my fingers and become nonautistic I would not do so. Autism is part of who I am," she has said. She has written several books that explain what it is like to have a mind like hers. One of these has been made into a film. The magical biographical film on HBO shows and tells the story of her struggles to communicate with people due to the many challenges of being autistic - which at the same time gives her incredible insight into the minds of animals. She was awarded a B.S. in psychology, and an M.Sc. and Ph.D. in animal science. In North America, almost half of the cattle are handled in systems she designed for the humane handling of livestock, so it's not an exaggeration to say that she has revolutionized the beef industry. Grandin has won the respect of PETA, even though she is not opposed to eating meat: "I think using animals for food is an ethical thing to do, but we've got to do it right. We've got to give those animals a decent life and we've got to give them a painless death. We owe the animal respect." She is also an autism advocate and, at the age of 18, invented the "hug machine" that gives comfort to autistics like herself. She wanted to make a difference with her life, and she has certainly done that.

Spend 20 minutes watching Dr. Grandin's recent talk on You will be amazed!

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