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Temple Grandin’s story is as miraculous and inspiring as that of Helen Keller. Mainly through her own determination and with the help of some very loving and insightful adults along the way, she discovered ways to free her self from the chains of autism and then went on to find ways to allow the special gifts of autism to be placed in service of the world. What we can learn from her is a lot.
As a child, she longed for affection, but because she was terrified of human contact and easily overstimulated, she became increasingly isolated instead. She also suffered from extreme anxiety attacks and was truly a prisoner of her autistic constitution.
Because she was also acutely observant and had a real understanding for the animals in her life (farm animals as well as pets), she was able to equate the responses of those animals to her own feelings and then to find ways to help herself out of the anxiety attack syndrome. And from there, her work both as a developer of effective autistic therapies and as a an animal scientist blossomed. As an adult, she is regarded as one of the most gifted animal scientists, and one of the highest functioning autistic individuals in the world.
Here story is remarkable: it teaches us as much about what it means to be human as it teaches about autism and its potentials. I just love this book.