Temple Grandin inducted into National Women’s Hall of Fame
February 17, 2017
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.
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.
Temple Grandin focused on being the best in her field.
She focused on proving she could do it.
And she did it.
Grandin was recently named to the National Women's Hall of Fame, and was one of 10 selected for this year's honor for her extensive work in the livestock industry and as an autism advocate.
She's 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.
Grandin has always seen the world in a logical manner — being on the autism spectrum — taking emotions out of the equation. That kind of thinking made it easy for her to design ways to ease animal treatment.
She's known for her work as an advocate for the ethical treatment of livestock for slaughter. In 1999, she worked with McDonalds to evaluate how the company treated animals and where improvements could be made.
That's when she developed a simple scoring system to assess if herds were treated well.
Things like noticing if there was any loud mooing from the cattle — an obvious sign of distress. She needed to find a way to easily determine whether livestock were handled in a proper and humane way.
"One of the reasons it worked was because it was simple," she said. "There are a lot of things or regulations that don't make sense and are vague."
It's easier to count the number of cattle that fell while moving, rather than coming up with an open-ended and vague description of how to handle livestock.
She equates the scoring system of ethical treatment to traffic rules. The rules are straight-forward. There is no room for interpretation. They're set.
Grandin's evaluation system is now widely used across the country for cattle evaluations.
She wanted to make sure things were done, and that they were done right.
THIS IS A MAN'S WORLD
It wasn't always easy growing up during a time when many women fought to even be considered for some types of work.
The 1970s saw a lot of protests and rallies calling 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 just needed to find a place where she was welcome to show her talents.
Grandin said she didn't run into a lot of problems with managers she worked for discriminating against her — they hired her and 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 things stayed true to her story. In one scene in the 2010 film, it showed bull testicles being put on her car.
That really happened. Some of the foremen didn't think a woman should be out there working with them.
But Grandin just cared about proving she belonged.
"I wasn't burning bras, I was wearing mine and proving I could do it," she said.
— Fox has been a reporter for the Fence Post since February 2016. She's a University of Northern Colorado alumna who grew up in Weld County, one of the top agricultural counties in Colorado. She can be reached at email@example.com or (970) 392-4410 or on Twitter @FoxonaFarm