Brain Pickings

HBO’s Temple Grandin: Recasting Autism


Nearly a year ago, we had the pleasure of seeing author, animal scientist, Hug Machine inventor, and avid autism advocate Temple Grandin speak at TED 2010. A few months later, HBO released the semi-biographical film Temple Grandin, telling the story of the woman whose extraordinary work recast autism as “different” rather than “lesser” in the public eye and used the power of visual thinking to create more humane systems for animal farming. With Claire Danes as Grandin in a surprisingly excellent fit and powerful delivery, HBO earned nominations in 15 Emmy categories and won 5 awards for a film that’s part living manifesto for following your gut, part new ethos for our relationship to animals.

The thing is, the normal mind drops out the details. But the autism mind sees all the details. That’s more like the animal mind, because animals are centric thinkers — they think in pictures, they think in smells, they think in sounds.” ~ Temple Grandin

The film is now out on DVD and we couldn’t recommend it more.

See the real thing in her element with this fantastic TED talk on the importance of diversity of minds.

For more of Grandin’s remarkable work, we highly recommend Animals in Translation: Using the Mysteries of Autism to Decode Animal Behavior — an absolutely fascinating and deeply illuminating read on one of the great mysteries of science and philosophy: What goes on in the minds of animals.

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