Colorado State University professor and author Temple Grandin inducted into National Women’s Hall of Fame
March 11, 2017
The autism spectrum
The spectrum is a condition that brings challenges to people’s social skills. This includes challenges in social behavior, communication and speech. Most people with autism think in a more logical way, rather than in an emotional way.
» The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates autism’s prevalence as 1 in 68 children in the United States. This includes 1 in 42 boys and 1 in 189 girls.
» An estimated 50,000 teens with autism become adults — and lose school-based autism services — each year.
» Around one third of people with autism remain nonverbal.
» Around one third of people with autism have an intellectual disability.
» Certain medical and mental health issues frequently accompany autism. They include gastrointestinal (GI) disorders, seizures, sleep disturbances, attention deficit and hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), anxiety and phobias.
— Courtesy Autism Speaks.
The other inductees for 2017
» The Honorable Matilda Raffa Cuomo (1931- )
» Lorraine Hansberry (1930-1965)
» Victoria Jackson (1955)
» Sherry Lansing (1944- )
» Clare Booth Luce (1903-1987)
» Aimée Mullins (1976- )
» Carol A. Mutter (1945- )
» Dr. Janet D. Rowley (1925-2013)
» Alice Waters (1944- )
Temple Grandin is a well known and read author who has authored, co-authored and edited books about the autism spectrum and animals. The books are available to order at http://www.amazon.com.
Temple Grandin focused on being the best in her field.
She focused on proving she could do it.
Grandin was named to the National Women's Hall of Fame in early February. She was one of 10 selected for this year's honor for her extensive work in the livestock industry and as an autism advocate.
She spent part of her early career working at Monfort's beef plant and has been a professor of animal science at Colorado State University since she was hired on a part-time basis in 1990. She also spends a lot of her time traveling and giving talks about agriculture, livestock and autism.
“I wasn’t burning bras, I was wearing mine and proving I could do it.Temple Grandin
Grandin always has seen the world differently, being on the spectrum. She sees things in a logical manner, taking emotions out of the equation. That kind of thinking made it easy for her to design such revolutionary advances in the cattle industry.
She's known for her work as an advocate for the ethical treatment of livestock for slaughter. In 1999, she worked with McDonald's to evaluate how the company treated the animals and where improvements could be made.
That's when she developed a simple scoring system to assess whether herds are treated well.
Methods like listening for any loud mooing — an obvious sign of distress — can be used.
When moving cattle, if there are one or two cows mooing, that's a sign of little to no discomfort. If more than a few are, that's a sign something is wrong.
"One of the reasons why it worked was because it was simple," she said. "There are a lot of things for regulations that don't make sense and are vague."
It's easier to quantify a number of cattle that fall while moving than an open-ended and vague description of how to handle livestock.
She equates the scoring system for ethical treatment to traffic rules. The rules are straightforward. There isn't rule for interpretation. They're set.
Grandin's evaluation system grew and now is used across the country for cattle evaluations.
She wanted to make sure things were done and done right. But it wasn't easy for her. It took a lot of time and effort proving she could.
THIS IS A MAN'S WORLD
It wasn't easy growing up in a time when many women fought to even be considered for some work.
The 1970s saw a lot of protests and rallies for equal rights for women and people of color. But Grandin did things differently. She had no desire to fight for equality the way others did.
She knew she could do her job, and knew she just needed to find a place where she was welcome to show it.
She said she found commonalities with the women in the movie "Hidden Figures" because of the way they approached their work. The movie is about black women who worked at NASA and had a large role in the launch of John Glenn into orbit.
"I really related to those characters," Grandin said. "I like the fact that those ladies, even though they were discriminated against, they were going to prove they could do it with math."
Grandin said she didn't run into a lot of problems with managers she worked for discriminating against her — they hired her, so they knew she'd do a good job — but she did face some problems with the cowboy foremen on some lots she worked on early in her career.
In the movie "Temple Grandin," the semi-biographical film fabricated and changed some things, but other parts kept with the true story. In one scene of the 2010 film, bull testicles are put on her car.
That really happened. Some of the foremen didn't think a woman should be working with them.
But Grandin just cared about proving she can.
"I wasn't burning bras, I was wearing mine and proving I could do it," she said.