Grandin, Temple 1947-

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GRANDIN, Temple 1947-

PERSONAL: Born August 29, 1947, in Boston, MA; daughter of Richard McCurdy (a real estate agent) and Eustacia (a writer, singer, and actress; maiden name, Purves) Grandin. Education: Franklin Pierce College, B.A. (with honors), 1970; Arizona State University, M.S., 1975; University of Illinois—Urbana, Ph.D., 1989. Politics: Republican. Religion: Episcopalian. Hobbies and other interests: Star Trek.

ADDRESSES: Office—Department of Animal Science, Colorado State University, Fort Collins, CO 80523. E-mail—[email protected]

CAREER: Arizona Farmer Ranchman, Phoenix, livestock editor, 1973-78; Corral Industries, Phoenix, equipment designer, 1974-75; Grandin Livestock Handline Systems, founder and consultant, 1975—; Colorado State University, Fort Collins, began as lecturer, became assistant professor of animal science, 1990—. Livestock Conservation Institute, Madison, WI, chair of handling committee, 1976-95; American Meat Institute, member of animal welfare committee, 1991—. Wood Gush Memorial Lecturer, International Society of Applied Ethology, 2001.

MEMBER: Autism Society of America (member of board of directors, 1988-92), American Society of Animal Science, American Society of Agricultural Consultants (member of board of directors, 1981-83), American Society of Agricultural Engineers, American Meat Institute (supplier member), American Registry of Professional Animal Scientists, National Institute of Animal Agriculture.

AWARDS, HONORS: Meritorious Service award, Livestock Conservation Institute, 1986; distinguished alumni award, Franklin Pierce College, 1989; Trammel Crow Award, Autism Society of America, 1989; named One of Processing Stars, National Provisioner, 1990; Industry Innovator's Award, Meat Marketing and Technology magazine, 1994; Golden Key award, National Honor Society, 1994; Industry Advancement Award, American Meat Institute, 1995; Animal Management Award, American Society of Animal Science, 1995; Harry Rowsell Award, Scientists' Center for Animal Welfare, 1995; Brownlee Award, Animal Welfare Foundation (Vancouver, Canada), 1995; Forbes Award, National Meat Association, 1998; Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation grant, 1998; named Woman of the Year in Service to Agriculture, Progressive Farmer magazine; Humane Award, American Veterinary Medical Association, 1999; honorary doctorate, McGill University, 1999; Industry Influential designation, Meat Marketing and Technology, 1999; Founders Award, American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, 1999; Joseph Wood Krutch Medal, Humane Society of the United States, 2001; Knowlton Award for Innovation, Meat Marketing and Technology, 2001.


(With Margaret M. Scariano) Emergence: Labeled Autistic (autobiography), Arena Press (Novato, CA), 1986, Warner Books (New York, NY), 1996.

(Editor and contributor) Livestock Handling and Transport, CAB International (Wallingford, England), 1993, 2nd edition, CABI (New York, NY), 2000.

Thinking in Pictures, and Other Reports from My Life with Autism (autobiography), foreword by Oliver Sacks, Doubleday (New York, NY), 1995.

(Editor) Genetics and the Behavior of Domestic Animals, Academic Press (San Diego, CA), 1998.

(Author of commentary) Norm Ledgin, Diagnosing Jefferson: Evidence of a Condition That Guided His Beliefs, Behavior, and Personal Association, Future Horizons, 2000.

(Author of foreword) Michael D. Powers, editor, Children with Autism: A Parents' Guide, Woodbine House, 2000.

(With Kate Duffy) Developing Talents: Careers for Individuals with Asperger Syndrome and High-Functioning Autism, Austism Asperger (Shawnee Mission, KS), 2004.

(With Catherine Johnson) Animals in Translation: Using the Mysteries of Autism to Decode Animal Behavior, Scribner (New York, NY), 2005.

Also author of Recommended Animal Handling Guidelines for Meat Packers; coauthor of Food Industry Animal Welfare Report, 2002. Contributor to Animal Welfare and Meat Science, CABI (New York, NY), 1998; contributor of articles to periodicals and professional journals, including Journal of Child and Adolescent Psychopharmacology, Meat and Poultry, Journal of Animal Science, Applied Animal Behavior Science, Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association, Veterinary Medicine, Agri-Practice, Zoo Biology, and Beef.

SIDELIGHTS: Highly accomplished inventor and animal scientist Temple Grandin has designed numerous pieces of livestock-handling equipment that provide for the humane treatment of livestock on farms and in slaughterhouses. Her inventions are used worldwide by farmers and meat packers, and in 2002 it was estimated that more than half of the cattle in North America were prepared for market through use of her "Stairway to Heaven" system of stress-free slaughter. What is remarkable about Grandin, other than the fact that she is an award-winning innovator in a male-dominated field, is that she has lived with autism since birth and has found ways to succeed not despite of it, but because of it. Her autobiographies Emergence: Labeled Autistic, which she wrote with Margaret M. Scariano, and Thinking in Pictures: And Other Reports from My Life with Autism chronicle her life and shed light on the autistic mind. Grandin's other publications—more than 300 journal articles and several books—deal with livestock behavior and livestock facility design.

Diagnosed as autistic at the age of two and a half, Grandin, like many autistic children, hated to be held, and she would stiffen her body to fend off her mother's hugs; she shunned others, preferring solitude, and was given to fits of rage; she also was limited in her verbal skills and was easily startled by noise and keenly aware of odors. Fortunately, however, she was surrounded by nurturing parents, aunts, and teachers who devoted themselves to her instruction. Her mother enrolled her in private schools and coached her in reading while encouraging the girl's creativity and imagination.

As she grew older, Grandin's verbal skills improved, but she exhibited the obsessive behavior often exhibited by autistics, behavior she found tormenting. She became easily fixated, for example, on rotating objects. She once heard a minister quote the biblical passage: "I am the door: by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved," and from then on the literal-minded Grandin sought out special doors. Her penchant for doors brought her much-needed peace; when she found them, they led to places of comfort for her troubled mind. The author describes her chronic anxiety level as akin to that of a person being mugged in an urban subway.

One summer, while visiting her aunt's cattle ranch, Grandin experienced something that would determine her life's work. Grandin was fascinated by the squeeze chute that was used to hold animals still while they were inoculated. Desiring hugs, but fearful of the pain caused her by human touch, she tried out the machine on herself, while her aunt manned the controls. Grandin found this mechanical hug exhilarating and relaxing. She subsequently designed a similar machine for herself, which she keeps in her home to provide stimulation and relaxation. Schools and institutes for autistic children have since implemented Grandin's squeeze chute in their treatment programs. The machine has also proven beneficial to children with other anomalies, such as hyperactivity.

Grandin's experience in the squeeze machine also gave her insight into the way animals feel, for they, also, live in a visual world and retreat from human touch. Such insights into the animals she has observed have caused her to feel most at home when with cattle and to become one of the foremost developers of gentle livestock-handling equipment. All of her designs are intended to lessen fear in animals and minimize their pain, and Grandin has been instrumental in the development of improved, animal-friendly dip-vats, stockyards, research laboratories, ramps at slaughter plants, and slaughter techniques, as well as numerous other products or methods dealing with cattle. Such industry giants as McDonald's and Burger King seek out her expertise, and even more remarkably, she has been cited for her work on animal welfare by People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals. Forbes contributor Ann Marsh declared: "Thanks to Temple Grandin, meat-eaters can be fairly certain the animals they consume met a placid death.... That one person—a woman—has won over so many players in the independenly managed and very male meat-processing industry is remarkable."

Grandin's accomplishments and autism are documented in her autobiographies. Emergence seeks to promote understanding of autism and its disturbing symptoms—especially the autistic's tendency to avoid touch—and describes Grandin's joy at her discovery of the squeeze machine. Commenting in Psychology Today, Paul Chance praised Emergence, writing that Grandin "has provided us with a fascinating look at autism from the inside."

Unlike Emergence, Grandin wrote Thinking in Pictures without the assistance of a professional writer, thus giving readers greater insight into her thought patterns. As the title indicates, Thinking in Pictures focuses greatly on the author's ability to visualize, which has resulted in her success as a livestock facility designer. Grandin's explanations of her visual techniques fascinated reviewer Stacey D'Erasmo, who wrote in Voice Literary Supplement: "Grandin has replaced the teleology of autobiography with something much closer to her heart: a diagram, in this case a diagram of her own mind. Slowly and patiently she explains it, taking care to be thorough: this is how it works, this is what caused how it works, here is the research, there are the consequences. She is a sober and literal architect....Her great gift, as the title of her book suggests, is her ability to visualize, to think in pictures."

Grandin has achieved a remarkable renown for someone in her line of work. She is the subject of a documentary film, and a feature film about her life was planned by Home Box Office. Time magazine featured her in a cover story about autism in 2002. Since so few people with autism can effectively articulate what they feel and experience, Grandin's candid view of her situation has helped scholars studying the disorder. She has not been satisfied just to speak about autism, however, but is engaged in new projects and research. When asked for her advice to other functioning autistic persons, Grandin told the Harvard Brain online: "People respect talent. Make yourself so good at something that people will hire you to do it. It has to be something there's a need for."



Grandin, Temple, and Margaret M. Scariano, Emergence: Labeled Autistic (autobiography), Arena Press (Novato, CA), 1986, Warner Books (New York, NY), 1996.

Grandin, Temple, Thinking in Pictures and Other Reports from My Life with Autism (autobiography), foreword by Oliver Sacks, Doubleday (New York, NY), 1995.

Sacks, Oliver W., An Anthropologist on Mars: Seven Paradoxical Tales, Knopf (New York, NY), 1995.


Booklist, October 15, 1995, p. 374.

Canadian Veterinary Journal, August, 1995.

Daily Variety, March 13, 2002, Melissa Grego, "Animal Magnetism at HBO," p. 1.

Denver Post, March 1, 2000, "CSU Prof Gets Star Treatment," p. F1; July 21, 2002, "Austistic Prof Helps Improve Livestock's Lot," p. B1.

Feedstuffs, February 21, 2000, "Animal Handling in Packing Plants Shows Improvement," p. 10.

Forbes, July 6, 1998, Ann Marsh, "A Kinder, Gentler Abattoir: Thanks to Temple Grandin, Meat-Eaters Can Be Fairly Certain the Animals They Consume Meet a Placid Death," p. 86.

Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association, Volume 205, no. 3, 1994, p. 463.

Library Journal, May 15, 1986, p. 71.

Los Angeles Times Book Review, May 4, 1986, p. 4.

New Scientist, December 23-30, 1995, pp. 70-71; June 2, 2001, Jon Copley, "Raging Bull," p. 16.

New Yorker, December 27, 1993, pp. 106-125.

Psychology Today, November, 1986, p. 86.

Publishers Weekly, October 30, 1995, p. 55.

Resource, July, 2002, "Temple Grandin," p. 20; August, 2002, "Animal Temperament and Bone Size Linked," p. 3.

Seattle Times, September 24, 2000, "Scientist Wins Respect from All Sides," p. A11.

Time, May 6, 2002, "Inside the World of Autism."

U.S. News and World Report, May 27, 1996, Joseph P. Shapiro, "Beyond the Rain Man: A Singular Woman Changes the Cattle Industry and Our Image of Autism," p. 78.

Voice Literary Supplement, November, 1995, p. 13.

Washington Times, November 26, 1995, p. 37.


Harvard Brain Online, 21, 2000), interview with Grandin.

Temple Grandin Web site, (November 10, 2003).*

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Grandin, Temple 1947-

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