I’m excited and honored to bring you today’s Extraordinary Women Radio guest, Dr. Temple Grandin, a Colorado Women’s Hall of Fame Inductee. In addition to being a world-renowned animal scientist, consultant, author, inventor, lecturer, and designer of livestock-handling facilities, Dr. Grandin is also a leading specialist and lecturer on autism spectrum disorder, a brain condition that she herself has had since birth.
In our interview today, Dr. Grandin tells her own personal story of finding the boldness and guts to do the great things in her life.
We talk about how horses saved her life and how horses can impact our society, especially our kids – something that is so important right now.
She shares her wisdom on the different spectrums of thinking that people have, and how labeling our in kids so quickly can be harmful.
Dr. Grandin shares her story of how she led change in the very male dominated world of agriculture and how she overcame her fear of speaking, as she speaks all around the world today.
Dr. Grandin is a legend in her own right.
More than half the cattle in Colorado, the United States, and Canada dwell in humane livestock-handling facilities designed by Colorado State University (CSU) animal sciences professor Temple Grandin.
Grandin’s extraordinary relationship with animals began with horses when she was a girl. During summers on her aunt’s cattle ranch, Grandin’s interactions with farm animals taught her lifelong coping skills that helped her overcome difficulties in communicating with people. For example, she invented a machine for calming herself that resembled squeezing systems used to calm cattle during branding. Her mother and aunt pushed her to develop her special talents despite the conventional wisdom in the early 1960s that autistic people could not lead mainstream lives.
Grandin has shared her vast expertise in livestock handling in hundreds of industry publications, book chapters, technical papers, and scholarly journal articles. Her best-selling Animals in Translation is one of seven books she has authored on animal behavior and autism. Thinking in Pictures and Other Reports from My Life with Autism describes her unique thinking process, which is based more on visual images than on words and language. Grandin argues that many animals share this perspective, enabling her to foster practical approaches to human-animal interactions that have revolutionized the cattle-handling industry.
Grandin generously supports graduate students at CSU and offers individual advice to young people on a daily basis. Time magazine listed her as one of its 100 most influential people in 2010, and the national media have interviewed her extensively, including on 60 Minutes, in The Wall Street Journal, and on National Public Radio. As a female trailblazer in an all-male industry, Grandin has used her well-known reputation to help others break through barriers of sexism and prejudice against persons with autism and bring about a fresh appreciation for all people.
“Autism is an important part of who I am, which I don’t want to change. But this is not my primary identity.” ~ Dr. Temple Grandin
The Colorado Women’s Hall of Fame mission is to inspire by celebrating and sharing the enduring contributions of Colorado’s distinctive women. To achieve this, the Hall educates the people of Colorado about the stories of the women who shaped our state and the nation’s history with courage, leadership, intelligence, compassion, and creativity. Their talents, skills, struggles, and contributions form a legacy that the Colorado Women’s Hall of Fame is dedicated to protecting.
Kami is honored to partner with the Colorado Women’s Hall of Fame, sharing the stories of their Inductees. You can listen to other Colorado Women’s Hall of Fame interviews here!