The Emmy Awards took place on Sunday night, and one award in particular created a bit of buzz on the Internet. The award was for Outstanding Made for Television Movie, and the winner was a biopic about an autistic woman named Temple Grandin, one of the leading scientists in the humane livestock handling industry.
The movie was aired on HBO earlier this year and starred Claire Daines, who also took home the award for the Outstanding Lead Actress in a Miniseries or Movie (the movie also won several other awards).
Grandin, who was in attendance and able to celebrate the win on her 63rd birthday, is a Doctor of Animal Science and a professor at Colorado State University. Her story is truly remarkable; at age 2 she was diagnosed with brain damage (autism had not yet been termed at this time), and a year later was diagnosed with autism. With the aid of speech therapists, Grandin began speaking at age 4, although she was still socially withdrawn and subject to frequent tantrums. Although children with these symptoms were often institutionalized at this time, Grandin’s mother opted to instead rely on a structured nursery school and a hired nanny to help treat Grandin. This decision would prove to be an important one; many years later, Grandin was able to eventually earn her doctorate in Animal Science from Arizona State University.
Her tremendous resolve has resulted in a number of personal accolades; Grandin is a best selling author, the subject of numerous books and documentaries, and the owner of a livestock website that acts as an authority on the humane treatment on animals. Her successes have enabled her to become an advocate of those born with autism spectrum disorders. She has been featured on major television programs such as Primetime Live, The Today Show, and Larry King Live, and has been written about in prestigious publications such as Time, People, Forbes, and theNew York Times.
Grandin is an advocate of early intervention to address autism, and of supportive teachers who can help to direct fixations of children with autism into fruitful directions. Her personal experience with these beneficial variables has helped her professionally. According to Wikipedia, Grandin has “described her hypersensitivity to noise and other sensory stimuli. She claims she is a primarily visual thinker and has said that language is her second language. Temple attributes her success as a humane livestock facility designer to her ability to recall detail, which is a characteristic of her visual memory. Grandin compares her memory to full-length movies in her head that can be replayed at will, allowing her to notice small details. She is also able to view her memories using slightly different contexts by changing the positions of the lighting and shadows. Her insight into the minds of cattle has taught her to value the changes in details to which animals are particularly sensitive, and to use her visualization skills to design thoughtful and humane animal-handling equipment.”
Temple Grandin’s story is a remarkable one, and acts as a positive anecdote for both ASD sufferers and their families. The recent portrayal of her in HBO’s Emmy Award winning Temple Grandin has helped to shine a light on how those with autism can