“My visual thinking gives me the ability to ‘test-run’ in my head a piece of equipment I’ve designed, just like a virtual reality computer system.” – Temple Grandin, PhD
She was portrayed by Claire Danes in an HBO movie “Temple Grandin.”
From post: HBO’s Autistic Hero, by Jace Lacob :
“Playing somebody who is wired in a fundamentally different way is very hard, and there are obvious limitations that will always be in place,” said Danes.
“I can’t change the way my brain works… I had to be so hyper-vigilant while playing her because she wouldn’t take anything for granted.
“She felt, especially in the earlier years, great social anxiety and panic. Temple explained to me that every time she walked in to a new room it’s like there would be snakes on the floor.
“The possibility of danger was incredibly acute. I found [it] very exhausting to be just so guarded and so prepared for catastrophe all the time.”
he article continues: “Ask Grandin what she thinks of Danes’ performance and she gushes. “Oh, brilliant, brilliant,” said Grandin. “Watching her was like going into a weird ’60s and ’70s time machine.”
“The film is a labor of love for executive producer Emily Gerson Saines, herself the mother of an autistic child… The movie is filled with optical illusions, visual patterns, and literal sight gags, all based on the way that Grandin herself processes information.”
“I attempted to show the quicksilver nature of her thinking, where she makes visual associations,” Director Mick Jackson said. “She can memorize the page of a French textbook even though she doesn’t speak French very well. She can memorize things she saw long ago and make connections between those and things she has just seen.”
Temple Grandin, PhD on visual thinking :
Different Types of Thinking in Autism
“Recent studies on the brain, and especially the brains of people diagnosed with autism spectrum disorders (ASD), are shedding light on the physiological underpinnings of our thoughts and emotions.
“We are gaining a better understanding of how neuropathways are formed and the extent to which biology influences behavior.
“When I was much younger, I assumed that everybody perceived the world the same way I did, that everybody thought in pictures.
“Early in my professional career I got into a heated verbal argument with an engineer at a meat-packing plant when I told him he was stupid.
“He had designed a piece of equipment that had obvious flaws to me. My visual thinking gives me the ability to ‘test-run’ in my head a piece of equipment I’ve designed, just like a virtual reality computer system.
“Mistakes can be found prior to construction when I do this. Now I realize his problem was not stupidity; it was a lack of visual thinking. It took me years to learn that the majority of people cannot do this, and that visualization skills in some people are almost nonexistent.
“All minds of the autism spectrum are detail-oriented, but how they specialize varies. By questioning many people both on and off the spectrum, I have learned that there are three different types of specialized thinking:
1. Visual thinking – Thinking in Pictures, like mine
2. Music and Math thinking
3. Verbal logic thinking
> See the rest of her essay Autism – The Way I See It.
Book: The Autistic Brain: Thinking Across the Spectrum by Temple Grandin, Richard Panek.
Article: Q&A: Temple Grandin on the Autistic Brain, By Maia Szalavitz, TIME, May 16, 2013.
- HBO Films site: Temple Grandin
- Essay: My Mind is a Web Browser: How People with Autism Think, by Temple Grandin
- Temple Grandin site
More books by Temple Grandin Ph.D. :
- The Way I See It: A Personal Look at Autism and Asperger’s
- Thinking in Pictures: My Life with Autism
- Emergence: Labeled Autistic
- AUDIOBOOK: Thinking in Pictures: My Life with Autism (Narrated by Deborah Marlowe)
Related post: Savant abilities and learning differences relate to developing multiple talents – Daniel Tammet is able to recite 22,514 digits of pi from memory. An author with autistic savant syndrome, he thinks such astounding abilities are not due to some cerebral or genetic fluke, but based on an associative form of thinking and imagination.
Article: Is There A Little Rain Man In Each Of Us?, by Darold Treffert, MD.
More quotes, books etc about dyslexia, autism, visual-spatial learning etc and creative talent on the page Learning differences.
Ethics and animal farming
Grandin has said, “I think using animals for food is an ethical thing to do, but we’ve got to do it right. We’ve got to give those animals a decent life and we’ve got to give them a painless death. We owe the animal respect.”
But many people are concerned about using animals for food at all.
In her post Temple Grandin: Savant or Professional Killer?, alicia graef writes, “It seems odd that someone could become such a prominent ethicist without being able to grasp that question. It also seems odd that someone who loves animals and feels they can empathetically relate to the animal mind wouldn’t try to help them live and instead, ironically, designs their deaths for a living.”