Read On!

Mrs. Farquharson’s musings about books for children and young adults

Temple Grandin

September14

Dr. Temple Grandin is a professor at Colorado State University, and her specialty is the humane treatment of animal livestock. More importantly, she is internationally known for sharing her personal experiences with autism.

Born in 1947, Temple clearly behaved very differently from other babies and young children. Because of little medical understanding of her condition and deficits, doctors suggested that Temple should be institutionalized. Her mother fought fiercely to find a way to educate Temple and help her navigate life. Mrs. Grandin searched for the best doctors and educators for her daughter. When Temple reached the age to attend school, her mother chose Dedham Country Day School because the teachers and students were kind and accepting.

Her years at DCD were happy, and Temple made many friends. She especially loved art classes, and the Grandins lobbied for Temple and some other friends who were girls to be allowed to participate in the wood shop class. Up until that time, only boys were in that class. At home, Temple loved to create projects like kites and obstacle courses and dog houses. As an adult, Temple often says “Art was always encouraged in our home. Art was what saved me. Kids need the arts!” When she returned to DCD to be honored as an alumna, one of the places that Temple visited was the wood shop.

Authors Amy Guglielmo and Jacqueline Tourville and illustrator Giselle Potter teamed up to produce How to Build a Hug: Temple Grandin and Her Amazing Squeeze Machine (Atheneum). The picture book biography describes how Temple couldn’t give or receive hugs because of her sensory reaction to being embraced.

When she was in high school, Temple spent a summer on her aunt’s ranch in Arizona. She observed the chute that cows were placed in to calm them for veterinary examinations. This gave her an idea of how to calm herself and give herself a hug. That invention was just the beginning for Grandin, who became an expert on understanding specific methods for handling and calming livestock.

How to Build a Hug is a fine title to add to the growing list of books that have been and are being written about this remarkable woman.

(Photo credits: autismspeaks.org and Amazon.com)

Email will not be published

Website example

Your Comment:


Skip to toolbar