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  #1  
Old 08-30-2010, 04:41 PM
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Temple Grandin steals the Emmys

http://awards.tv.yahoo.com/blog/50-who-is-temple-grandin?nc

Thanks to my regular listening to state/Pravda radio NPR, I've known about Temple Grandin for some years now. She was diagnosed with autism at age 2 but fortunately for her she came from a family with some means and a mother determined to do right by her daughter. She was born in 1950 and in those days, it was believed that autism was caused by cold mothers. Whew.

She eventually gained advanced degrees in livestock management and used her uniquely over-sensitive nervous system to design more humane means of handling livestock - dipping ponds and slaughterhouses - that not only please animal rights activists but yield greater profitability owing to less loss from animal injury, lower labor costs - just generally smoother operation.

When I heard her speak on the radio, I was wondering how did this odd bird get into a position of enough authority to bring about approx. half of US slaughterhouses employing her methods.

I saw the bio-pic of her, starring Claire Danes, on HBO a few weeks ago, and oh man, I had no idea just how hard it was for her to pull that off. It was a lesson in courage and persistence for me that I hope to actually learn something from. She did grad school work at feed lots and slaughterhouses in Arizona. My old man was an Arizona cowboy and there are some hard core ol' boys in Arizona, Imo tell you what. One guy with some authority over her (in the movie) thought Grandin was just a complete loon, and knowing that she got the last laugh on him is sweet indeed.

Danes, sometimes considered a bit of an odd bird herself, knocked it out of the park with this role. The film was nominated for 7 awards and won 5 including Outstanding Made for Television Movie.

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Old 08-30-2010, 06:09 PM
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She is a fascinating person. I read her book, "Humane Livestock Handling," which I recommend to anyone with any interest in animals. People like her make me feel guilty for complaining about the hardships that come my way.
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Old 08-30-2010, 06:35 PM
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Didn't see the movie but she works, or used to work at CSU in Ft. Collins. I've heard her interviewed before. Fascinating connection between the autistic human and other animals.
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Old 08-30-2010, 06:38 PM
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While watching the movie, it occurred to me of all the times I've shelved some idea or inclination with the thought "aw, nobody'll go for that . . . "

Grandin faced longer odds than I do, persisted, and came out on top.

Times a wastin' (iconic cartoon shot of someone picking up one foot to charge off, leaving a small whirlwind behind them)!
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Old 08-30-2010, 06:50 PM
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Originally Posted by kerry View Post
Didn't see the movie but she works, or used to work at CSU in Ft. Collins. I've heard her interviewed before. Fascinating connection between the autistic human and other animals.
The autistic savant phenomenon is an interesting thing. Ya ever hear of the guy who has demonstrated that he can gain a working proficiency in a new language in a few weeks? He's one of the higher functioning people with autism, well I guess that would be obvious.

At any rate, it makes me wonder to what degree we all have a similar potential but one that is somehow buried under other mental processes. I would love to be able to pick up other languages quickly.

Ah, found the guy I was thinking of, Daniel Tammet. Learned a passing grasp of Icelandic in a week:

http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/life_and_style/health/article5575661.ece
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Old 08-30-2010, 08:11 PM
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Stole the show? I thought the other idiot savant, Ricky Gervais, did it with the Mel Gibson comment:

"I'm not going to make fun of him, he's been through a lot. . . although not as much as the Jews, to be fair."
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Old 08-30-2010, 10:09 PM
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That is a good one, I didn't see the show, dammit, I've found a few clips though.
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Old 08-31-2010, 08:20 AM
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Originally Posted by cmac2012 View Post
She was diagnosed with autism at age 2 but fortunately for her she came from a family with some means and a mother determined to do right by her daughter. She was born in 1950 and in those days, it was believed that autism was caused by cold mothers. Whew.
The determined mother part is probably more important than the family of means part. It wasn't long ago that kids like her would have been institutionalized. Then someone discovered that you can teach these kids, they can learn and become functional members of society.

My son with Down syndrome isn't autistic (although a dual diagnosis is not all that uncommon) but through memberships with different groups we've become close friends with a number of families of children with autism. In many ways I would say it is far easier to have a child with Ds than it is to have a child with autism. Good or bad, you can see that my son has a disability. With an autistic child, there are no visual clues, and because of that they are very often misunderstood by other kids and even other parents. While my son will generally get a pass for some goofy, inappropriate behavior because his Ds is apparent (even to the point of negative reinforcement by goofing along with him), the same behavior from an autistic kid leaves those who don't know wondering what the hell is wrong with that kid?

Parents who don't blanketly (?) accept that their kids won't be able to do something because they have an X diagnosis generally have kids that exceed everyone else's expectations.
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Old 08-31-2010, 09:09 AM
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I first learned of Dr. Grandin while returning from Australia and seeing the documentary "The Woman Who Thinks Like a Cow" on in-flight programming.

Dr. Grandin's philosophy has been a driving factor in the way we conduct our grass-fed beef business. Consequently, no animal of ours will EVER go to an auction barn and our processors must be able to demonstrate that they subscribe to low stress handling and humane kill practices.

You can bet that any time we work livestock, the first thing we consider is: WWTG do?
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Old 08-31-2010, 09:28 AM
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I saw the documentary while waiting for a driver to come out and drive one of my trucks back home to be sold, it was well worth watching
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Old 08-31-2010, 12:00 PM
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The person with a handicap I was rooting for is the kid with cerbal palsy on "Breakin' Bad". The kid is a terrific actor, and I've been told the cerbal palsy isn't an act.
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Old 09-02-2010, 10:21 PM
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I have 2 autistic kiddos and have read several of Temple Grandin's books...fascinating outlook she has, much different than the normal person's way of processing information. One thing she notices is details...eg: cows wouldn't go up a particular chute because there was a coathook on a wall, and if a coat was there, it disturbed them. Most "neurotypical" people see the tree, autistic people see the leaves, each and every one of them, and may never notice that there is even a tree at all.

My wife says that the apples don't fall far from the tree, and I see some autistic tendencies in myself, so I have some understanding of what TG's life is like.
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Old 09-03-2010, 05:38 AM
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I had the opportunity to meet and chat with her a couple years ago when she came to give a talk where I was working at the time. She's very direct and quite saucy. Some of the stuff she said during the talk got a good laugh from the audience.

Her books are very interesting to me as well as I've long suspected that I have a form of autism called "Asperger's Syndrome" (though never professionally diagnosed). The short time I had to speak with her was very enlightening.
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Old 09-03-2010, 07:25 AM
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I had the opportunity to meet and chat with her a couple years ago when she came to give a talk where I was working at the time. She's very direct and quite saucy. Some of the stuff she said during the talk got a good laugh from the audience.

Her books are very interesting to me as well as I've long suspected that I have a form of autism called "Asperger's Syndrome" (though never professionally diagnosed). The short time I had to speak with her was very enlightening.
I thought those with Asperger's were very intelligent?
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Old 09-03-2010, 08:16 AM
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I thought those with Asperger's were very intelligent?
As the father of a special needs kid, I expected a much more sensitive response from you, mister!

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