TAKE ON TOPICS
By TRACI BARNES
Around 6:30 this morning I sat down and turned on the television while I was waking up. My usual routine is to start off the day with news. The TV channel was on HBO, there was a movie already playing.
For some reason I didn’t change the channel and became captivated in the show. I really wasn’t sure what the movie was. There was a young woman and it showed her to exhibit some autistic traits trying to cope in a school. I believe what caught my attention though was her excitement and love of science. I watched the entire rest of the movie, it was a true story and unbelievably motivating. This young woman had a great love of animals which ultimately helped her relate better to people.
Her interest in animal welfare began with designs for sweeping curved corrals, intended to reduce stress in animals that were being led to slaughter. This woman goes on to get a Master’s Degree and a PhD in animal science and is an expert in animal welfare, animal behavior, and in livestock handling.
She saw everything through pictures in her mind and the movie highlighted this and how she related it to the livestock industry. She had a gift for explaining how she sees the world. I was fascinated with how she was able to relate to what the cattle saw and how it made them react.
She was described by Leslie Stahl on 60 minutes as “one of those rare people with autism who can explain autism. She’s a sort of interpreter of autism for the rest of us.” In 2010, Time Magazine named her one of the world’s most influential people. Her influence was part for her scientific work and her contributions to understanding autism. Actually she has won numerous awards and this made for TV movie had 16 Emmy nominations.
When she was two her mother was told she had brain damage. Her mother refused to accept this diagnosis. It turns out that she has a form autism called Asperger’s. Today she is an American doctor of animal science and professor at the Colorado State University. She is a best selling author, and consultant to the livestock industry on animal behavior. She is noted for her work in autism advocacy and is the inventor of the squeeze machine.
So today I feel more like a movie critic recommending that you watch this movie about her life, the movie is titled “Temple Grandin”. If you want something inspirational to start the year off on a positive note this movie will do just that.
Until next week…