Animal Scientist | Autism | Self-Advocate
Tuesday, February 12, 2019
Temple Grandin, Ph.D., has been a pioneer in improving the handling and welfare of farm animals. Grandin’s achievements are remarkable because she was an autistic child. At age two, she had no speech and all the signs of severe autism. Many hours of speech therapy, and intensive teaching enabled her to learn speech. As a teenager, her life was hard with constant teasing. Mentored by her high school science teacher and her aunt on her ranch in Arizona, they motivated her to study and pursue a career as a scientist and livestock equipment designer. She has done extensive work on the design of handling facilities. Half the cattle in the U.S. and Canada are handled in equipment Grandin has designed for meat plants. Other professional activities include developing animal welfare guidelines for the meat industry and consulting with companies on animal welfare.
10 a.m. | Levan Center
2 p.m. | Indoor Theater and Livecast to Delano
In Thinking in Pictures, Expanded Edition: My Life with Autism, Grandin delivers a report from the country of autism. Writing from the dual perspectives of a scientist and an autistic person, she tells us how that country is experienced by its inhabitants and how she managed to breach its boundaries to function in the outside world. What emerges in Thinking in Pictures is the document of an extraordinary human being, one who, in gracefully and lucidly bridging the gulf between her condition and our own, sheds light on the riddle of our common identity."
4 p.m. | Indoor Theater
Among its provocative ideas, the book, Animals in Translation: Using the Mysteries of Autism to Decode Animal Behavior, argues that language is not a requirement for consciousness and that animals do have consciousness applies the autism theory of "hyper-specificity" to animals. Grandin shows that animals and autistic people are so sensitive to detail that they "can't see the forest for the trees,” a reality animals and autistic people see, sometimes all too clearly. She explains how animals have "superhuman" skills.
7 p.m. | Indoor Theater
It is usually easy to pinpoint the cause of physical pain in animals, but to know what is causing them emotional distress is much harder. Drawing on the latest research and her own work, Grandin identifies the core emotional needs of animals. Then she explains how to fulfill them for dogs and cats, horses, farm animals, and zoo animals. Whether it is how to make the healthiest environment for the dog you must leave alone most of the day, how to keep pigs from being bored, or how to know if the lion pacing in the zoo is miserable or just exercising. Grandin teaches us to challenge our assumptions about animal contentment and honor our bond with our fellow creatures. Animals Make Us Human is the culmination of almost thirty years of research, experimentation, and experience.
Grandin is the prominent author and speaker on both autism and animal behavior. Today she is a professor of Animal Science at Colorado State University. She also has a successful career consulting on both livestock handling equipment design and animal welfare. She is a past member of the board of directors of the Autism Society of America. She lectures to parents and teachers throughout the U.S. on her experiences with autism. She has also appeared on National TV shows such as Larry King Live, 20/20, Sixty Minutes, Fox and Friends, and she has a 2010 TED talk. Articles about Dr. Grandin have appeared in Time Magazine, New York Times, Discover Magazine, Forbes and USA Today. HBO made an Emmy Award winning movie about her life and she was inducted into the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 2016.
Faculty Coordinators: James Selgrath, Professor of Agricultural Business and Kirk Russell, Library Department Chair
Brought to you as part of the Distinguished Speaker Series in collaboration with the 2019 BC Library’s Cerro Author series and the BC Agriculture Department