The world needs all kinds of minds

Temple Grandin is an American autistic woman who, through her work as a consultant for the meat industry, has made significant improvements to conditions for animals at abattoirs. According to PETA,”Dr. Grandin’s improvements to animal-handling systems found in slaughterhouses have decreased the amount of fear and pain that animals experience in their final hours, and she is widely considered the world’s leading expert on the welfare of cattle and pigs.”

Temple Grandin attributes her success with animals to her autism. She says she thinks in pictures rather than language and animals don’t understand language. She also focusses on details and notices things that others do not see.

The world needs autistic people. It’s not a disease or something to be ashamed of or embarrassed by and it’s certainly not insulting to be called autistic. In my view – and I’m the mother of an autistic child – it’s not all that different to being told you’re good at maths or music.

13 thoughts on “The world needs all kinds of minds

    1. She’s an amazing woman! I agree. The education system does leave a lot of to be desired but so far I’ve had only good things to say about support for autism for my son.

  1. There is a great HBO movie about her life called just “Temple Grandin” . The trailer for the movie is at

  2. Unfortunately people get labelled as if that is all there is to say about them. I would always say “he is John who has autism” never “he is autistic”. The same approach applying to any other aspect of a person. The sooner we give peoples there names rather than a label, the quicker we will learn to appreciate variety instead of being disparaging.

    Aberdeen cannot be far off now. You must be excited. 🙂

    1. Aberdeen is getting closer and closer thanks, Graham. October!

      I don’t mind the phrase “he is autistic”. My point is that being described as autistic is not derogatory. I even think it’s complimentary in that autistic people are often quite good with details and have unique skills.

    2. This is a good point and I think society is starting to realise the difference between these two phrases. It’s not so much that I mind the phrase “he is autistic”, just that it makes you think how the subtle difference in language makes you see things subtly differently.

      1. Quite so. A label seems to say all about a person, where in fact there is more to know. There is a big difference between saying that John is a schizophrenic and John suffers from schizophrenia.

        You are right that society is evolving towards better. It’s just a bit slow compared with the span of our lives. Thanks for the reply 🙂

  3. That’s such a sensible attitude, Rachel. I get the impression that the world is slowly coming around to your way of thinking. Hope I’m right.

  4. PETA (as quoted; I didn’t check the source for context)): “Dr. Grandin’s improvements to animal-handling systems found in slaughterhouses have decreased the amount of fear and pain that animals experience in their final hours, and she is widely considered the world’s leading expert on the welfare of cattle and pigs.”

    It’s interesting to see slaughterhouse and welfare packaged in the same sentence like this.

    Should we be grateful to the Nazi death camp operators for thinking to lie to their victims about the “showers” since doing so will have reduced the fear and panic experienced during the process?

    1. It’s interesting to see slaughterhouse and welfare packaged in the same sentence like this.

      Yes, personally I’d prefer there was no slaughtering of animals for human consumption and I’m sure PETA does too. Especially since the majority of us can live perfectly well without having to farm and kill animals for food. The word slaughterhouse is awful too. I noticed that I subconsciously used “abattoir” instead.

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