Temple Grandin is an American professor of animal science at Colorado State University, consultant to the livestock industry on animal behavior, and a spokesperson for the Autism community. In 2017 she was also inducted into the National Women’s Hall of Fame. She has taught so many about how the autism brain works and her article Thinking In Pictures or her Ted Talk The World Needs all Kinds of Minds are two great resources for anyone who works with individuals with autism.
Her article and Ted Talk shares many of the same ideas so I will be pulling what I have learned from both to quickly summarize her thoughts that I have found very helpful in my work. The first point that she makes is that she has a very visual memory and she sees every object as a specific picture in her mind. Her first example is, when someone says church steeple most people see a general picture in their mind, but for her she see’s a specific steeple and then various other specific pictures after that like Google images. Later in her article she goes on to say that sometimes those pictures are connected to memories or other events and when she thinks of one thing then that relates to another, and another and she begins to associate and can get lost in her own mind. This learning was very significant for me because many of the clients I have worked with I have noticed how one object or word can cause them to go down a track of associations that don’t always make sense to me, and often they have a hard time stopping their train of thought. In the article she also compared the way she thinks to virtual reality where she is in another world and has the ability to adapt and change any picture that she see’s in her mind. This is why she has been so successful in the livestock industry because she is able to put herself in the cattle’s shoes and adapt their areas with her brain to create a more are comfortable resulting in more humane treatment of cattle.
She continues on to say that there are many types of thinkers and she is concerned that the education system is beginning to shy away from certain techniques and classes which creates a difficult environment for those with autism because those might be the areas they succeed in. From her findings, she believes there are visual thinkers, music and math thinkers (who think in patterns), and verbal and logic thinkers. Everyone thinks differently and all different types of thinkers are needed to make the world go round. For more specific ideas from Temple Grandin check out the links below, and maybe even check out the movie that was created about her called Temple Grandin.
Thinking In Pictures- Article
Ted Talk Link:
If you want to learn more about Temple Grandin and all the amazing work she does check out her website: http://www.templegrandin