In the United States, March has been designated as Women’s History Month, and it can be a great time to spend time learning about important women who have made, and are making, contributions to our world.
In celebration of the contributions of women in the United States, our blog post this week is written by Deb Velto, a teacher with Oak Meadow. She shares a special interest in the contributions of a woman named Temple Grandin. Thanks to Deb!
Temple Grandin is an animal scientist who was recently inducted into the National Women’s Hall of Fame because of her work to improve the welfare of animals in the meat industry. Temple has a special ability to understand the animals she observes. Because of this gift, Temple was able to design a method of holding animals at a slaughterhouse that was more humane and would reduce the stress the animals experienced. She could see the stress the animals were experiencing and understand what would help them. Today, her methods are used by the meat industry throughout the world. Temple Grandin’s mind works differently than most scientists because she has autism. Although she has had to overcome many challenges related to being autistic, she attributes the way her mind works with her ability to understand animals.
Temple Grandin eventually became an important advocate for people with autism because she was one of the first people who was able to explain to others what it was like to be autistic. Her insights have helped parents and teachers learn to improve the way they interact with and teach autistic children. She invented something called a “squeeze box” which is still used today to comfort children and adults who have autism. Because her parents and others took the time to learn the way her mind worked, Temple was able to succeed. Today, Temple works to help people better understand autism through her books and lectures. She also continues her work for animals as a scientist and professor at the University of Colorado. Temple Grandin believes that the world needs all kinds of minds. Do you agree? Do you know anyone like Temple, who may have a special gift, but also faces challenges because of the way their mind works? How do you think we can help people better understand and appreciate these kinds of differences?
If you would like to learn more about Temple Grandin try:
Temple Grandin: How the Girl Who Loved Cows Embraced Autism and Changed the World by Sy Montgomery
Animals Make Us Human: Creating the Best Life for Animals by Temple Grandin
The Temple Grandin website: http://www.templegrandin.com/