temple grandin

temple grandin

her 2010 ted talk (and bio on ted site):

temple grandin on ted site

Temple Grandin, diagnosed with autism as a child, talks about how her mind works — sharing her ability to “think in pictures,” which helps her solve problems that neurotypical brains might miss. She makes the case that the world needs people on the autism spectrum: visual thinkers, pattern thinkers, verbal thinkers, and all kinds of smart geeky kids.

Through groundbreaking research and the lens of her own autism, Temple Grandin brings startling insight into two worlds.

TED 2010 – the world needs all kinds of minds:


her site:

temple's site


wikipedia small





Mary Temple Grandin (born August 29, 1947) is an American professor of animal science at Colorado State University, a best-selling author, an autistic activist, and a consultant to the livestock industry on animal behavior. She also invented the “hug box”, a device to calm those on the autism spectrum. The subject of an award-winning, 2010 biographical film, Temple Grandin, she also was listed in the Time 100 list of the one hundred most influential people in the world in the “Heroes” category.


She has described her hypersensitivity to noise and other sensory stimuli. She claims she is a primarily visual thinker and has said that words are her second language.



Grandin compares her memory to full-length movies in her head, that may be replayed at will, allowing her to notice small details. She also is able to view her memories using slightly different contexts by changing the positions of the lighting and shadows.

so she already has the vest..


nice 45 min recap via Ron, Cornelia, Walt & Owen Suskind on radiolab sept 2014:


24 min from experts – (including Temple Grandin): repetition of human action – with music


sept 2013 –

Temple Grandin Talks To George Stroumboulopoulos

7 min – autism is extremely variable..

i’m a bottom up thinker

9 min – real problems today – i’m seeing smart kids on the spectrum going nowhere

12 min – you take the fixation and you broaden it out

19 min – abstractification – too far away from reality – we need to be figuring out how to solve practical problems..

utopia of rules ness


trailer of her movie:


jan 2014

Dr. Temple Grandin, “The Autistic Brain: Thinking Across the Spectrum” | Authors At Google

what would happen to einstein and jobs today..


8 min – you sell your work rather than yourself… portfolio – my folder of drawings – so that after 30 seconds.. the reaction is wow

10 min – showing how her mind is like a search engine for image

12 min – malcom gladwell’s 10000 hrs you could learn anything.. ie: i couldn’t do algebra or computer programming.. i agree with gladwell about the practice…

15 min – a place like this – avoid labels like the plague

17 min – problem – in order to get a service.. you have to have a label..

20 min – take the things they are fixated on and broaden it out

22 min – sometimes the most obvious is the least obvious… why engineers need artists. ie: mathematical mind not seeing the obvious

27 min – building equipment is only half of it.. the other half is management

31 min – language covering up art and mathematics

37 min – is there a problem with the equipment or the way it’s being used

you have to use the things you make – in order to know

43 min – not a failure that such a high percentage doesn’t finish classes (ie: moocs) – they found out what they needed to find out

mooc idea

47 min – we have to get back to doing real things..

53 min – we’ve got to figure out how to work together.. too many silos..

short ness

55 min – we’ve got to hook them in middle school

?  – or better than that.. no? i love her – facilitating their fixations… facilitate curiosities.. from age 2 ish.. no?

57 min – having to treat a problem at its source

deep enough ness


published 2013

the autistic brain



I beg you: Do not allow a child or an adult to become defined by a DSM label.


 Being able to “download” images from my visits to cattle-handling facilities in order to create this blueprint for a double-deck loading ramp didn’t seem unusual to me. © Temple Grandin.

The DSM-IV, which was published in 1994, further complicated the definition of autism by adding a new diagnosis altogether: Asperger syndrome.

..it (asperger syndrome) quickly gained a reputation as “high-functioning autism,”….at one end of the spectrum, you might find the severely disabled. at the other end, you might encounter an einstein or a steve jobs.

loc 348 – (seems odd to me) description of brain as office.. then she describes hierarchical school subject… ending with manual laborers in the basement… the ones dealing with the life-support system, like breathing and nervous system arousal..

parts crazy and i’d question. parts appropriate.. and what we’re missing.. like what matters most.. and/or perhaps – this is version of art-ist ness – ie: ok if comes from w/in you

The imaging indicated that I am overconnected, meaning that my inferior fronto-occipital fasciculus (IFOF) and inferior longitudinal fasciculus (ILF)—two white-fiber tracts that snake through the brain—have way more connections than usual.

..how can you socialize people who can’t tolerate the environment where they’re supposed to be social.

science of people in schools ness

Then I realized: The problem isn’t which way you interpret the data. The problem is the data itself.

deep enough problem..

If researchers want to know what it’s like to be one of the many, many people who live in an alternate sensory reality, they’re going to have to ask them. Researchers routinely disparage self-reports, saying they’re not open to scientific verification because they’re subjective. But that’s the point.

so – huge for self-assessment.. say we all are autistic.. to whatever degree. say we need to build new chute for us to go through our day.. (toward the it is me ness) but it looks more like this:

in the city as the day ultra mapping








are there only 5 senses..? ie: vest as sense/assess

hoping that some of the new technologies might allow for a higher incidence of self-reporting.

indeed… vest.. app/chip.. document everything ness. via idiosyncratic jargon ness..

In tablets, however, the keyboard is actually part of the screen, so eye movement from keyboard to the letter being typed is minimal. Cause and effect have a much clearer correlation. That difference could well be meaningful in terms of allowing people with extreme sensory problems to tell us what it’s like to be them.

Carly ness – goods of tech – help to hear.. et al

In his book How Can I Talk If My Lips Don’t Move? Inside My Autistic Mind, Tito Rajarshi Mukhopadhyay describes his liberation from a locked-in autistic existence.

jaron on words


He recalled a doctor telling his parents that Tito couldn’t understand what was happening around him, and he remembered his thinking self’s unspoken response: “‘I understand very well,’ said the spirit in the boy.

next section – writing about Carly:

her thinking self was taking in a lot more information than anyone would have thought. On some levels, her inner life was surprisingly normal… but on other levels, her inner life was complicated in ways only she could know..

there’s never nothing going on… spaces w/ nothing to prove – what is normal

The authors wrote that “excessive neuronal processing may render the world painfully intense.” To which the brain’s response might be “to rapidly lock down the individual into a small repertoire of secure behavioral routines that are obsessively repeated.

i’ve postulated that the common autistic symptom of averting one’s eyes “may be nothing more than intolerance for the movement of the other person’s eyes.”

behavior that looks antisocial to an outsider might actually be an expression of fear.

in healthy brains, the parts that appear to be related to language and music overlap to a high degree.

if you want to know what the symptoms of autism mean, you have to go beyond the behavior of the autistic person and into his or her brain.

I call this kind of thinking label-locked because people get so invested in what the word for the thing is that they no longer see the thing itself.

I have often thought that eventually we’re going to be asking ourselves at what point this or that autism-related genetic variation is just a normal variation. Everything in the brain, everything in genetics—they’re all one big continuum.

on us all being autistic.. ie: all of us being human

Label-locked thinkers want answers. This kind of thinking can do a lot of damage.

Half the employees at Silicon Valley tech companies would be diagnosed with Asperger’s if they allowed themselves to be diagnosed, which they avoid like the proverbial plague.

A generation ago, a lot of these people would have been seen simply as gifted. Now that there’s a diagnosis, however, they’ll do anything to avoid being ghettoized.

..label-locked thinking can affect research.


to me, the dsm-5 sounds like diagnosis by committee. it’s a bunch of doctors sitting around a conference table arguing about insurance codes.

Instead of talking about sets of symptoms in an attempt to assign them a label, we can begin to talk about one particular symptom and attempt to determine its source.

let’s say… history of autism…

phase 1: 1943-1980 the year of dsm 3 (focus – parents.. as cause, esp mother);

phase 2: 1980-2013 the year of dsm 5 (focus – labels.. specific symptoms make up diagnosis), ie: i can’t do that because i have autism

phase 3: 2013- (focus – symptom, forget about labels..) return to phase 1 search for a cause.. but this time: 1\ not via mind but brain 2\ not to cause but causes 3\ not cause of autism.. but of each symptom along whole spectrum, ie: i can’t do that because  i have smaller cerebeum

we should start taking heed of self reports.. and new ways to elicit them

thinking categories: in pictures (object visualizer), in words and in patterns (spatial visualizer)..

our brains “want” to see patterns, and as a result, they might identify patterns that aren’t there.

It’s as if the fractals were in his brain, just waiting to be freed.

Cowan hypothesized that because hallucinations moved independently of the eye, the source of the image was not on the retina but in the visual cortex itself…. seeing lattice checkerboards; tunnels/funnels; spirals; and cobwebs… reported forever….  fractals prevalent at all levels of the nervous system

You could say that the whole universe is fractal.

fractal thinking

i see like an artist, i realized, but i don’t feel like an artist, instead, my emotions aork like a scientist’s.

And so I did it. I took what nature gave me, and I nurtured the heck out of it.

..how we can actually change the brain to help it do whatever it does best (she just said – some people can’t do some things.. ie: she and gates had same access.. but she couldn’t code like him) – then talks about cab driver’s hippocampi’s enlarging the longer they work.. then shrinking back to normal when they quit

Not only can dormant areas of the brain “come to life” and do what they were always supposed to do, but those areas can get repurposed and do what they aren’t supposed to do.

i knew i had to train myself to be someone i wasn’t naturally, (public speaking), and what is training yourself at a new skill but “rewiring” your brain?

talks about Jacob

Sometimes it takes a while before parents realize that their kid actually has a talent or an interest.

Instead of thinking only about accommodating their son’s deficits, they could think about his interests, his abilities, his strengths.

(talks about the need to do things you’re not interested in.. and the need to learn to please others..?)

she was talking in work and in school.. and i’m wondering.. what if neither exist..



dis order

higashida autism law



notes/quotes from emergence:


clearly, temple hadn’t emerged from autism by becoming a diff person, but had taken and reworked what she already had.. – william carlock ..t


in order to get over the tactile defensiveness, i needed tactile stimulation but i withdrew. babies deprived of cuddling avoid being touched when they get older


too many therapists and psychologically trained people believe that if the child is allowed to indulge his fixations, irreparable harm will result. i do not thinking this is true in all cases. fixations can be guided into something constructive.. taking the fixation away can be unwise..


we had to rule the plus and minus signs and be ever so neat. it was bad enough trying to understand math but having to be neat besides was impossible..


crystallized intelligence (makes use of verbal mediation, sound inference and sequential steps of logic in problem solving) is rewarded in our ed system in which regurgitation of knowledge is accorded value. as a consequence, many gifted young people who possess fluid intelligence don’t fit into the typical ed structure..


when he went to tag the stuff coat, i’d run to the goal and win. i always tried to think of new ways of doing things


as an adult, i’ve leaned to control my temper. my method of control is simple. i never allow my temper to be aroused,. i don’t argue w people. i just turn and leave a troublesome situation. i don’t ever want to unleash my tempers.. i’ve seen temper destroy possessions, friendships, families..t..  in jr high my temper got me into serious trouble..


(from note from her mom) her improvement is tied in, i’m sure, w appreciation and love. until she is secure in her surroundings, knows the boundaries and feels accepted and actively appreciated, her behavior is erratic.. temple either lacks this desire to conform or her nervous impulse is too great for her to overcome. perhaps a little of each


mother had taught me to read; she defended me when i got into trouble at school; her good instincts worked better than hours of expensive therapy..t


this interest in engineering undoubtedly can be attributed to my engineer grandfather. he and an assoc patented the most important component of the automatic pilot.. it’s called a flux valve and it sense the motions of the plane’s wings thru the earth’s magnetic field..  still in used today on all commercial jets


much of her (mother writing scripts for tv documentaries) research had been centered in the mtn country school in vermont


recent studies w hyperactive children indicate that stimulating the vestibular system by spinning the child in an office chair twice weekly reduced hyperactivity


i wish one of the psychologists would have told me about my speech problem instead of worrying about my id. i was aware that sometimes people didn’t want to talk to me, but i didn’t know why..


(aunt writing to mother) i’d heard of her violent temper if rules were too stringent. since i was essentially innocent of ‘rules’ except what was dictated by reason and common sense – i never saw the temper..


i did not start to study until i realized that knowledge as necessary in order to build the device which would apply the stimulus i lacked as a youngster


one point i want to make clear is that the purpose of the squeeze machine is not to make a person submit to some doctrine put out by society but rather to enable the person to completely search his soul and com to terms w his intellect – maybe enable the person to get a little closer to god and not always be thinking about his own personal gain..

if the only way i could get my device used around the world before i die would be to have somebody steal it and get all the credit, i would let them..t


someone asked me how i could love cats and at the same time perform sci experiments on them. i couldn’t answer. it was the same sort of question i’d asked myself about the origin of my cattle chute. how could a device that forced an animal to submit also be a device that generated love for fellow man?


tactile stimulation is not only reassuring to all children, but essential for the child who is autistic.. overcoming tactile defensiveness is like taming an animal.. when the animal is first touched, it flinches and moves away. gradually, it learns to accept and then enjoys being touched..


if autism and dyslexia were ultimately prevented, maybe the price would be turning potentially talented individuals into ones w mediocre talents..  t

higashida autism law