Temple Grandin was born at a time when words like neurodivergent and neurotypical had yet to enter the lexicon and autism was not well understood. Since she didn’t develop speech until much later than most children, she might have led a much different life if it hadn’t been for people around her who worked very hard to open up a space for her to thrive and explore her talents and abilities. In this episode we discuss all that as well as her latest book, Visual Thinking, all about three distinct ways that human brains create human minds to make sense of the world outside of their skulls.
OFFICIAL DESCRIPTION FROM THE BOOK WEBSITE
A quarter of a century after her memoir, Thinking in Pictures, forever changed how the world understood autism, Temple Grandin—the “anthropologist on Mars,” as Oliver Sacks dubbed her—transforms our awareness of the different ways our brains are wired. Do you have a keen sense of direction, a love of puzzles, the ability to assemble furniture without crying? You are likely a visual thinker.
With her genius for demystifying science, Grandin draws on cutting-edge research to take us inside visual thinking. Visual thinkers constitute a far greater proportion of the population than previously believed, she reveals, and a more varied one, from the photo-realistic object visualizers like Grandin herself, with their intuitive knack for design and problem solving, to the abstract, mathematically inclined “visual spatial” thinkers who excel in pattern recognition and systemic thinking. She also makes us understand how a world increasingly geared to the verbal tends to sideline visual thinkers, screening them out at school and passing over them in the workplace. Rather than continuing to waste their singular gifts, driving a collective loss in productivity and innovation, Grandin proposes new approaches to educating, parenting, employing, and collaborating with visual thinkers. In a highly competitive world, this important book helps us see, we need every mind on board.
Temple Grandin is a professor of animal science at Colorado State University and the author of the New York Times bestsellers Animals in Translation, Animals Make Us Human, The Autistic Brain, and Thinking in Pictures, which became an HBO movie starring Claire Danes. Dr. Grandin has been a pioneer in improving the welfare of farm animals as well as an outspoken advocate for the autism community. She resides in Fort Collins, Colorado.