Temple Grandin Inducted into Colorado Women's Hall of Fame
Coinciding with International Women’s Day, the Colorado Women’s Hall of Fame will recognize ten women tonight for their accomplishments.
Temple Grandin (born August 29, 1947) is an American doctor of animal science and professor at Colorado State University, bestselling author, and consultant to the livestock industry on animal behavior. As a person with high-functioning autism, Grandin is also noted for her work in autism advocacy and is the inventor of the squeeze machine designed to calm hypersensitive people.
Grandin is listed in the 2010 Time 100 list of the 100 most influential people in the world in the category "Heroes".
Early life and education
Grandin was born in Boston, Massachusetts, to Richard Grandin and Eustacia Cutler. She was diagnosed with autism in 1950. Having been labeled and diagnosed with brain damage at age two, she was placed in a structured nursery school with what she considers to have been good teachers. Grandin's mother spoke to a doctor who suggested speech therapy, and she hired a nanny who spent hours playing turn-based games with Grandin and her sister.
At age four, Grandin began talking, and making progress. She considers herself lucky to have had supportive mentors from primary school onwards. However, Grandin has said that middle and high school were the worst parts of her life. She was the "nerdy kid" whom everyone teased. At times, while she walked down the street, people would taunt her by saying "tape recorder," because she would repeat things over and over again. Grandin states that, "I could laugh about it now, but back then it really hurt."
After graduating from Hampshire Country School, a boarding school for gifted children in Rindge, New Hampshire, in 1966, Grandin went on to earn her bachelor's degree in psychology from Franklin Pierce College in 1970, her master's degree in animal science from Arizona State University in 1975, and her doctoral degree in animal science from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in 1989.
Grandin is a philosophical leader of both the animal welfare and autism advocacy movements. Both movements commonly cite her work regarding animal welfare, neurology, and philosophy. She knows the anxiety of feeling threatened by everything in her surroundings, and of being dismissed and feared, which motivates her work in humane livestock handling processes. Her business website promotes improvement of standards in slaughter plants and livestock farms. In 2004 she won a "Proggy" award, in the "visionary" category, from People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals.
One of her notable essays about animal welfare is “Animals are not Things”, in which she posits that animals are technically property in our society, but the law ultimately gives them ethical protections or rights. She compares the properties and rights of owning cows versus owning screwdrivers, enumerating how both can be utilized to serve human purposes in many ways but, when it comes to inflicting pain, there is a vital distinction between such 'properties': a person can legally smash or grind up a screwdriver but cannot legally torture an animal.