Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Temple Grandin

If you have a child, friend, or loved one who is autistic, or if you are a teacher, or if you have any contact with autistic adults or children, or for that matter anyone with any disability (have I covered everyone?), you must see this movie!  Today it's not unusual to meet kids with an autism spectrum disorder, and those kids are in schools to varying degrees of inclusion.  But when Temple Grandin was a child growing up in the 1950s, it was a different world.  She was different, odd, hard to teach, etc.  Ultimately she became a respected university professor and animal husbandry expert.  This movie follows her life from her childhood to her early career.

Besides Temple's spirit and determination, her mother and aunt and uncle provided her with the environment and input she needed to reach her potential.  A high school teacher helped her explore her gifts.  In spite of her limitations in speech and social interactions, Temple succeeded and thrived, all the way through college and graduate school.

Several scenes in the movie show her determination at work.  In college, she created a hugging machine, inspired by a cattle chute at her uncle's ranch, to help her calm herself.  Even when the college officials forced her to give it up, she fought back and won permission to keep a device in her dorm.  Later, when she was researching the treatment of cattle in stock yards, the men tried to keep her out by refusing entry to women.  So she dressed as a man, fooling the gatekeepers!  Claire Daines portrays Temple's quirky behavior in these situations beautifully and with respectful humor.
Temple transformed the cattle industry by trying to see stockyards from the cows' point of view.
Temple Grandin takes the viewer into her autistic mind, giving us a hint of the way she thinks visually.  Just as Temple put herself in the place of the cows, to attempt to see the world as they see it, thus coming to a better understanding of how best to treat them, Temple Grandin will give the viewer unprecedented insight into the mind of autistic persons.  Highly recommended!

Bottom line, 3 1/2 stars.

Here are some books she has written, and one by her remarkable mom:

No comments: