October 27, 2011

World Renowned Speaker Coming to USU

Bestselling author Temple Grandin.

She’s been featured in The New York Times, People, and Forbes. She was listed in Time’s list of 100 most influential people in the world under heroes. A movie based on her life earned 15 Emmy nominations.

Yet Temple Grandin is far from a billionaire. She’s an expert on livestock and animal behavior, a bestselling author and a professor of animal science at Colorado State University.
Oh yes, and she was born with high-functioning autism.

Diagnosed at 3 years old, Grandin’s mother was told that she had brain damage and should be institutionalized. At a time when little was known about autism, her mother scoffed at the suggestion, and instead began a journey to ensure her daughter had the best opportunities possible. She was placed in a nursery school from the time she was a small child. Her mother hired a one-on-one speech therapist helping Grandin learn to communicate. She graduated from Hampshire Country School, a private school focused on giving gifted children specialty education, in 1966.

Grandin was listed in Time’s list of 100
most influential people in the world.
Sixty-one years later, Grandin, who didn’t utter her first word until 4 years old, holds three college degrees including a Ph.D. in Animal Science from the University of Illinois.

 As a teenager, Grandin’s mother sent her West to her aunt’s ranch in Montana to “expose her to new things.” Grandin didn’t know it was a decision that would change her life. On the ranch, Grandin began to realize animals and autistic people have similar traits such as taking visual cues and relaxing when pressure is applied to their body. Using her knowledge and unique perspective, she began to be an advocate for humane beef and pork handling.

After serving as the livestock editor of the Arizona Farmer Ranchman for 5 years, Grandin began to more fully understand that animals put in an unfamiliar places or situations, tense up.  This, she found, reduced glycogen levels in the animals, producing lower quality meat.

Grandin was published in many scholarly journals before fast food chains began to pay attention to her work in the 1990s. In the face of a large lawsuit on counts of animal cruelty, McDonald’s Corporation hired Grandin to help improve conditions in their slaughterhouses. Seeing that cattle became frightened by the straight chute that led to their slaughter, Grandin created a circular chute so that cattle couldn’t tell where they were going, thus lowering their stress levels. Since then, she has been a voice of change that has represented fast food chains around the country.

Grandin has written multiple books, including, “Emergence: Labeled Autistic” and “Thinking in Pictures" and “Other Reports from My Life with Autism.” 

Grandin will be visiting USU on Nov. 2  to discuss animal psychology and autism. For more information on events contact Skyler Di Stefano at 435-797-7406 or refer to the schedule below.  
7:00 PM
Movie Screening: “Temple Grandin”
TSC Auditorium
4:00-5:00 PM
“All Kinds of Minds Need to Work Together”
USU Ballroom
5:00- 5:30 PM
Book Signing
USU Sunburst Lounge
6:30 PM
“Improving Animal Welfare: A Practical Approach”
USU Ballroom

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