Thursday, October 16, 2008

Dr. Temple Grandin

It's Differing Abilities Week at This week, we're recognizing the unique and different abilities that people live with. Despite setbacks, many of these people are able to accomplish great successes in their lifetimes. Dr. Temple Grandin is an example of a woman who was able to apply her autism to provide an insight into how animals experience the world.

Dr. Temple Grandin was diagnosed with autism at the age of three, and didn't begin learning how to talk until the age of four. Although she had a difficult time in grade school socially, she went on to graduate from college and received a p.h.D in animal science from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

Dr. Grandin is the author of several books, designs livestock facilities, and is an advocate for animal welfare. She believes that her autism allows her to have a unique understanding of animal behavior and also greater empathy for how they perceive the world. While our society often views animals as property, she believes that that they still deserve to be treated ethically. Through her work designing livestock facilities, she creates animal-handling equipment that is more humane and thoughtful.

As an advocate for autism, she believes that early intervention as well as supportive teachers are important in leading autistic children on positive life paths.

Visit this week to read more about women who live with differing abilities.

Photo copyright Joshua Nathaniel Pritikin and William Lawrence Jarrold

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