Thinking in Pictures, My Life With Autism, by Temple Grandin


Dr. Temple Grandin is a well-known professor of animal behaviors at Colorado State University. She describes her autistic mind as one that does not think in words like most people. She says it is like a video library where memory is stored in pictures that she can retrieve as images, from her own memory, and even combine and reshape them

Rather than using social skills, she relies on logic and rules she has learned along the way to guide her behavior. Because human’s relationships have been challenging she has especially enjoyed, and made major findings by using her unique empathy, working with animals. She especially loves working with cows and originally this book was going to be titled “A Cow’s Eye View” instead of “Thinking in Pictures”.  Cows move from yard to yard and to truck by chutes. She found that a squeeze machine calmed the cows and then learned that it worked for her, so she made one that she uses daily to calm herself. This approach has revolutionized the livestock business, and today almost half of the cattle in North America are handled in a center track restrainer system that she designed.

Grandin’s goal has been to improve animal welfare and “Thinking in Pictures” has been, for her, a key to doing just that. The information she shares about herself gives insight into the value of having the right teachers and thinking past school to a career that will be the “right career niche”.

In 2017, Grandin was inducted into the National Women's Hall of Fame

Quotes by Temple Grandin

“Children who are visual thinkers will often be good at drawing, other arts, and building things with building toys such as Legos.”

 “I get great satisfaction out of doing clever things with my mind, but I don’t know what it is like to feel rapturous joy.”

 “My thinking pattern always starts with specifics and works toward generalization in an associational and nonsequential way.

 “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.”