I just watched Temple Grandin on HBO. This is a heck of a movie about an amazing woman. I don’t even know where to start. Temple Grandin is a professor at Colorado State University, the designer of humane slaughterhouses and feedlot practices, and is autistic. She didn’t speak until she was four years old. Her mother couldn’t stand the thought of putting her in an institution as was suggested to her, so she worked with Temple, never gave up , and saw her daughter learn to live in the world with her autism. Temple saw the world in pictures and was a keen observer of animal behavior in order to understand them. (And I think we could all learn volumes if we would follow that simple practice with animals, and people!) After being inspired by her observation of how calm cattle became after a squeeze chute was tightened around them, she built one for herself, used it when she panicked, and it worked.
It was her observation that “Nature is cruel, but we don’t have to be; we owe them (animals) some respect,” and that became her life’s work. When she was fearful of new situations, she remembered what her science teacher told her, to consider problems a door that opens, and then she would go about making that door open for her.
Her attention to detail and simply observing animal behavior, her inventive strategies for opening those doors that were closed to her, and her ability to cope and live with her autism was inspirational. We could all learn from her-and we aren’t autistic.
I sat so engrossed watching the movie that I realized too late that I should have been taking notes or something. But I didn’t, so I hope you will watch for it to be shown again or pick it up on DVD when it most surely will come out.