“If by some magic, autism had been eradicated from the face of the earth, then men would still be socializing in front of a wood fire at the entrance to a cave.”–Temple Grandin,
Temple Grandin is one of my favorite celebrities. She is an animal behaviorist who studied at three universities. She invented adaptive curved corrals, which reduced stress, panic, and injury in animals in slaughterhouses. She is a spokeswoman for autistic rights, because she happens to be autistic herself. Her autism helped her to invent the hug machine, a machine designed to calm those with hypersensitivity.
Thinking in Pictures had me captivated the moment I started reading. She covers every aspect of autism–its positives and negatives. For her, autism is more of a positive than a negative. It is cleat that she feels autism is an advantage. She feels it is her autism that focused her desire for knowledge. She feels that what truly helped her was that she had no shortage of support throughout most of her development.
Grandin believes there are three types of thinkers: visual, music/maths, and verbal. Visual thinkers have to “see” things in order to understand them. They will often draw a picture or build objects to work out problems. Temple sees herself as this type.
Music/math thinkers attempt to find patterns in things. This helps them to excel at fields built on patterns, such as mathematics.
Verbal thinkers, as the name implies, use words and speech. They love to make lists to aid in memorization and enjoy how words sound. This is the kind of thinking I do. I have always enjoyed making lists to help me organize things I need to remember or just for the fun of it. I enjoy the sounds of various words and I love reading just for what I can learn or the ability to escape to the ability to escape to another world.
Would I recommend Thinking in Pictures? Yes! Grandin is a great advocate for autism. To her, autism is not a disability. She admits that it has made social relationships difficult, but she feels that because she is autistic, she is able to focus her thinking in ways “neuro-typical” people would not. She feels the positives outweigh the negatives. If you really want a good case study in autism that isn’t tainted with sob stories and cure-based research like Autism Speaks would provide, start with Temple Grandin. In fact, I plan to review more of her books in the future.