Temple Grandin

Professor of Animal Science

How I Changed Views of Animal Behavior   


Who would have thought that the design of livestock handling facilities could lead to new insight into autism? The answer: Temple Grandin. She is a Professor of Animal Science at Colorado State University and her designs for livestock handling facilities can be found all over the world. In fact, almost half of all cattle handled in North America have spent time in the center track restrainer system she designed for meat plants. Her designs and writings on animal behavior have helped reduce animal stress during handling and improve animal welfare.

Early in her career, Temple Grandin discovered not everyone sees the world the way she does. Grandin thinks in pictures, which enables her to visualize prototypes of designs she has made. A dispute with an engineer at a meat-packing plant made her realize this ability was something special. And at this time she did not realize the engineer did not have her ability of visual thinking. Over many years, Grandin interviewed people with autism and regular people and she figured out that people on the autism spectrum have three different types of specialized thinking: visual thinking, music and math thinking, and verbal logic thinking. 

Grandin amazed the world with her unprecedented ‘inside narrative’ of autism. Since then, she has championed a campaign to emphasize the abilities of people diagnosed with autism or Asperger’s Syndrome, rather than their disabilities. The Temple Grandin Awards are annually presented to people with autism or Asperger’s in recognition of special achievements.
Grandin has received many awards from around the world, including the Meritorious Award from OIE World Organization for Animal Health.


Photo credit Rosalie Winard 

Professor, animals, autism, Science, Sarasota 2016