TEMPLE GRANDIN

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TEMPLE GRANDIN

Postby annie aronburg » Thu Jan 03, 2008 1:19 am

This is a thread where we can get down and worship in the Grand Temple of Temple Grandin.

I am critical of some of her ideas but everytime I see a clip of her talking or a photo of her in a cute KD lang/Dale Evans style outfit, my heart melts.

Check out the 1:45 mark in part two of The Woman Who Thinks Like A Cow", when she gives trick or treaters "foreign money from England" instead of Halloween Candy. I find that so disarming.

An interview with her on Wrong Planet, an web community of Aspergians with over 750 people online as I type this post. There's 10 on RI right now.

http://www.wrongplanet.net/article295.html

WrongPlanet.net:What do you think about curing Autism? You've said things like "genius comes from autism" but you've also supported the ABA.

Temple Grandin:Well the thing is, with a little bit of autism, you know, if you have mild autism, you'll get genius like einstein. Too much of autism, you're going to have a severely handicapped child who's going to remain nonverbal and if you don't do things like aba, they're not going to function at all. There is no way with any treatment they have that you're going to cure autism. There's basic abnormalities in brain development.

I would think in an ideal world, you don't want to have people who cant talk, but on the other hand, you definitely don't want to get rid of all of the autism genetics becvause if you did that, there'd be no scientists. After all, who do you think made the first stone spear back in the caves? It wasn't the really social people.

If we didn't have a little of the autism trait we wouldn't even have this building here today with all the electricity in it, your video camera, powerpoint shows... None of this stuff would even exist.

WP: So if there were something that cured all the autism genes, you wouldn't support that?.

TG:No, I would not support that. becase there is a point where mild autistic traits are part of normal human variation. Because on the other end of the spectrum you have Williams Syndrome, and if you look at the brain abnormalities, they're exactly the opposite of autism. the whole back of the brain, where the hard drive is--there isn't too much there. But all the social emotional circuits are hooked up so [people with Williams Syndrome] are hyper, hyper, social. I'm gonna bet you there's a lot of yackety yackety salesman that don't talk about much of anything who are Williams Syndrome variants. But then you get to a point where a person [with Autism] cannot talk, they're self inuring themselves, and they cannot live independently. That [is something] you would want to eliminate, if possible, but you would not want to get rid of all the autism genes because you wouldn't have any computers-- you wouldn't have any scientists.

WP: I know there are groups like Cure Autism Now who are looking to test for Autism before someone is born. What are your thoughts on prenatal testing?

TG: Well, the problem with autistic traits, it's a continuum of traits.

WP:Right, a spectrum

TG: and [with] a little bit of the trait, you get einstein. There is a book called Asperger's and Self Esteem and its about famous scientists and musicians that probably were aspergers.

The genetics of it are probably going to be complicated. There is not going to be one single gene for autism. So i think they're quite a ways away from a genetic test. Its not like fragile x syndrome where there is a very obvious genetic abnormality.

WP: What do you think about online communication and the role it plays with helping HFA and aspergers communicate more because there are obviously a lot of websites out there where people can get help with social stuff.

TG: HI think thats a helpful thing--I think thats a really really helpful thing. But the things I feel very strongly about are things like developing your career. I'm a livestock handling specialist first and autistic secondly. And I think all of these websites are a really good thing but you don't want to have that take over where you're not working on your career in computer science which is extremely important. You also want to be on other websites for computer science where you're talking about things related to your job.

There is not enough emphasis in the special ed field on careers. Thats why I have my little book called developing talents. Because the thing about the autistic brain--it tends to be a specialist brain--good at one thing, bad at something else. And we need to be getting into a lot more emphasis on developing what they can be good at.

What you have to do is sell your skills rather than yourself. I'm a big believer in making portfolios. Make a nice portfolio of some of your very best coding. People are going to look at that and say 'wow, that's really good coding'.

That's something I've had to do my whole life-- I mean, I sold jobs by sending out a portfolio of drawings and picturees of jobs i have designed. I sell my work rather than myself.

The problem with the whole thing on curing autism is we do want to do something about low functioning autism. But the upper end.

WP:What do you think about the social aspect with Aspergers?

TG:I think there are basic social skills people need to learn. In my field there are lots of 40 and 50 year old head of maintenance engineers that are Aspergers and i think they're functioning because in the 50s, basic social skills were drilled into all kids. Things like manners, things like not being rude. And in today's society being looser, I think it really hurts the Aspergers children. I had table manners drilled into me as a child. I had things like please and thank you drilled into me as a child. And when I look back at that, that was really a good thing. And I'm seeing way too many Asperger kids who are total slobs. There is just no excuse for that. And you happen to look very nice. I want to commend you for that.

WP:Thank you.

TG: When I was little i was taught to say please and thank you, that I couldn't comment on fat ladies in the supermarket. And I recently went to a talent show at an autism school and some of [the kids] were dressed as complete slobs in front of 500 people. I think that's ridiculous.

WP: When were you diagnosed?

TG:Well, I'm fifty-eight so I was originally diagnosed as brain damaged. And I had the full blown symptoms. I had no speech until I was three and half to four years old.

WP: What are your thoughts on coping with an adulthood diagnosis?

TG: Well I think the most important thing that I find is happening is a lot of people are functioning reasonably well at work but their married life is a mess because the spouse doesn't understand what's going on. The best thing in that situation is reading a lot of books.

Sometimes in an adult a formal diagnose isn't all that wise. I think a lot of people can get the DSM-IV from amazon read the criteria and they're done. And a lot of these older engineers don't even know what aspergers is...

I get concerned that sometimes this diagnosis can hold a person back.

See, the thing is, It's a continuum. When does a computer nerd become Aspergers? There is no black and white dividing line. I was full blown autistic, but then as you move up the scale to science nerds--as you move up the scale, when is computer nerd a medical diagnosis? It's not clear cut.

I think the Human brain is so complicated that an absolutely perfectly wired human brain wouldn't ever be possible.


Amanda Baggs has a few pointed things to say about the above on her blog:
http://ballastexistenz.autistics.org/?p=27

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Peta's 2004 Visionary Winner: Dr. Temple Grandin

Postby annie aronburg » Thu Jan 03, 2008 1:31 am

Peta's 2004 Visionary Winner: Dr. Temple Grandin
Renowned animal scientist Dr. Temple Grandin doesn't seem like the sort of person who would receive PETA's Proggy Award. An associate professor of animal science at Colorado State University, Dr. Grandin consults with the livestock industry and the American Meat Institute on the design of slaughterhouses! However, Dr. Grandin's improvements to animal-handling systems found in slaughterhouses have decreased the amount of fear and pain that animals experience in their final hours, and she is widely considered the world's leading expert on the welfare of cattle and pigs.

Recently, following a PETA undercover investigation, Dr. Grandin's expertise was instrumental in securing significant improvements in the treatment of animals at AgriProcessors, the world's largest glatt kosher slaughterhouse. Noting that incompetent kosher slaughterers and shoddy quality control at AgriProcessors are giving shechitah a bad name, Dr. Grandin said about the abuses at AgriProcessors, "I thought it was the most disgusting thing I'd ever seen. I couldn't believe it. I've been in at least 30 other kosher slaughter plants, and I had never ever seen that kind of procedure done before."


A few quotes from "Kill Them With Kindness", an article on Temple Grandin and her contributions to the slaughter industry.

http://americanradioworks.publicradio.o ... ndin1.html

She Knows How Animals Feel
Temple Grandin is convinced that she knows how animals feel during their final moments in the slaughterhouse. And she's harnessing that power to ease the moment when millions of animals die. In some ways, you can glimpse her connection with animals if you join her at the end of the day, after she's finished another inspection for McDonald's. Grandin goes home to her condo in Fort Collins, Colorado, and she's so speedy, so wired from working and traveling and watching all the slaughter, that she walks to her cramped bedroom and goes to her machine.

"This is the squeezing machine," explains Temple Grandin. "I've got to turn on the compressor to make it work, and when I turn it on, it's going to make a bit of racket. After I use the squeeze machine I have nicer dreams. I get that sort of nice feeling of being held."

Temple Grandin is autistic, and some therapy clinics use this machine, which she invented, when they treat autistic children. The machine stands about waist high, right next to her single bed. There are two slabs of wood, like padded tabletops, propped in the shape of a long V. Grandin lies face down the entire length of the V, so the slabs cradle her body and then she works a hydraulic lever that forces the slabs to squeeze her:

"I can control the pressure," Grandin notes.

Now that she's an adult, Grandin is what researchers call a high-functioning autistic. She's a high-functioning person, period. She's written two memoirs, and appeared on national TV, and she travels around the world giving speeches. But she's struggled her whole life to achieve that. Grandin says she used to attack people in rages. She almost blinded a student who made fun of her. She bit a teacher's leg and made it bleed. Grandin says she'd freak when people touched her:

"I would just jump," says Grandin. "It would be like touching a wild animal. You know when you touch a wild animal — it makes that wild animal jump. People would touch me and I would just pull away. You know, the way my nervous system reacts when I panic is just like the nervous system of cattle or a horse when they panic."


You know,' says Grandin, "when an animal dies in a well-run slaughter plant, it's much more peaceful than out in nature. People forget that it is a harsh world out there. Animals could die in a snowstorm. There could be a drought and they could starve to death, or get eaten up by predators. If I was an animal, I'd rather go to a slaughter plant than have my guts dined on while I was still alive.


And another reason to make sure we're not doing atrocious things at the slaughter plant is that if it is too easy to do something really atrocious to an animal—with the poor animal screaming and everything—the person who could do that might not have any problem torturing people," says Grandin. "I remember one of the reasons that St. Thomas Aquinas said that we have to treat animals right is so that people themselves don't get corrupted."
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Postby FourthBase » Fri Jan 04, 2008 5:16 pm

And another reason to make sure we're not doing atrocious things at the slaughter plant is that if it is too easy to do something really atrocious to an animal—with the poor animal screaming and everything—the person who could do that might not have any problem torturing people," says Grandin. "I remember one of the reasons that St. Thomas Aquinas said that we have to treat animals right is so that people themselves don't get corrupted."


Okay, that's very true and ethical.

You know,' says Grandin, "when an animal dies in a well-run slaughter plant, it's much more peaceful than out in nature. People forget that it is a harsh world out there. Animals could die in a snowstorm. There could be a drought and they could starve to death, or get eaten up by predators. If I was an animal, I'd rather go to a slaughter plant than have my guts dined on while I was still alive.


Good fucking god NO.
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The Spock People

Postby annie aronburg » Fri Jan 04, 2008 11:24 pm

Scary innit?

Which do you pick? Having your throat torn out by wolves or a Lastday trip to the Sleepshop?

Temple is an extremely practical woman.

“I still have difficulty understanding and having a relationship with people whose primary motivation in life is governed by complex emotions, as my actions are guided by intellect”


Her inventions make it possible for millions of animals to have peaceful deaths and for McDonalds Inc. to save millions of dollars.

It's a lot to think about.

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Postby FourthBase » Fri Jan 04, 2008 11:42 pm

Which do you pick? Having your throat torn out by wolves or a Lastday trip to the Sleepshop?


Probably option C: Not existing. As would be the case with the vast majority (maybe 100%) of cattle bred for human consumption. It's not like we're rescuing wild cows from the wild then sending them to slaughterhouses. Even if we were doing that, a miserable death is only one possibility for a wild cow. And by the same logic, we should be capturing every wild animal that could fall prey to animal predators and sending it to the slaughterhouse for a "peaceful" death.

She's a remarkable woman, and she's bettering the cows' miserable lives by making their murders less traumatic, but she's still ultimately an accomplice to ghoulishness. I pray she gets visited by unwelcome visions of the true horror of what she's facilitating, and changes her mind.
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Viva Las Vegans!

Postby annie aronburg » Sat Jan 05, 2008 3:32 am

We're gonna get totally OT here but since it's just me 'n' you, why not?

Probably option C: Not existing. As would be the case with the vast majority (maybe 100%) of cattle bred for human consumption.


I don't eat anything I wouldn't kill myself. If another creature is going to give its life so that I may continue to live, I've always felt like I had to be willing to accept responsibility for its death. (It may have been Vatican II folk-singing Catholicism that I was raised in, but it was still Catholicism...)

That leaves me with the occasional wild fish, milk and eggs as sources of animal protein.
My personal dietary habits are a result of adolescent rebellion, empathy for mammals and living next to a chicken processing plant one summer. I mention this to let you know it's kind of a stretch for me to defend the slaughter industry at all.

It's not like we're rescuing wild cows from the wild then sending them to slaughterhouses. Even if we were doing that, a miserable death is only one possibility for a wild cow. And by the same logic, we should be capturing every wild animal that could fall prey to animal predators and sending it to the slaughterhouse for a "peaceful" death.


I don't think she's advocating the capture of wild animals for humane slaughter. I'm not sure it's the same logic either. It's not my main point, so I'm skipping it, don't be mad. We can start another thread and totally go nuts on animal slaughter if you want.

I chose the above quote because it is extreme.

If I were asked what to do about animal stress in slaughterhouses, my response would be "Shut 'em down."

Nobody in a multi-billion dollar industry is going to listen to that.

Temple told Big Beef she could save them money and that's what got the beef processors to listen to her.

Did her autism make it possible for her to focus beyond the Big Horror of large-scale commercial abbatoirs and focus on the tiny details that make the process unnecessarily horrible for all the participants?

I have seen video of cows in her plants calmly and quietly going to the abbatoir,one after the other. No screams, no panic, no fear hormones. This has made the situation safer for the cattle, the workers and the consumer. She may even have contributed indirectly to the continuation of the 99 cent value meal, the life blood of the proletariat. Once that goes and we see the true cost of beef in petrodollars (or petreuros, if you will) we'll know it's the end times.

I pray she gets visited by unwelcome visions of the true horror of what she's facilitating, and changes her mind.


What a strange prayer!

I think the way her life is going she will eventually do all her earning on the lecture circuit, but horses and cattle are such a huge part of her identity, she'll probably always be involved with trying to make things better for them.

If you find yourself at the library or at a bookstore one day, read the last chapter of Thinking in Pictures and I think you'll find Temple has contemplated what she has facilitated more deeply than you or I.

It is reported that autism is now found in one in every 150 children. If one in every 150 children were born without a nose or a hand, would people consider it an epidemic? Would we want to DO something about it?

Are autistics created or mutated?
Is the high rate of diagnosis the result of mercury-laden vaccines, the next natural step towards a transhuman future or the current psychological vogue? What did people get before there were words like autism or Asperger's Syndrome to catch? Crazy? The Nobel Prize?

and lastly
Why won't John Travolta get help for his son Jet?

I want answers 4-B, and I want them by morning!

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Re: Viva Las Vegans!

Postby Susserer » Sun Jan 06, 2008 5:47 am

annie aronburg wrote:I chose the above quote because it is extreme.

I'm wondering if having extreme perspectives is characteristic of autistics or unique to the individual who is Dr. Temple? Perhaps we should make an inventory of the most shocking non-conformist thinking of Autistics. That might be fun?

Here is autistic author and policy writer for Whitehall, Kamran Nazeer, has to say about autistic perception:

The challenge for autistic individuals is that they are overwhelmed even by their own minds. Typically they notice more details than other people. I know someone who can sketch buildings in architectural detail, from memory - placing not just the rooms but the lift shafts, corridors, stairwells- after walking around them only once. Elizabeth, who was in our class and whom I will write about later in the book, could play a piece of music straight through immediately after hearing it for the first time. There is a high incidence of synesthesia too, that is, minds that correlate certain sounds, tastes, or textures with colours. Simultaneously, the ability of autistic individuals to categorize or process this information is more limited. Their language skills are less developed. They don't know how to invoke the assistance of others. With this combination of high input and low output inevitably a sort of log jam occurs- there is a lot that lingers. Consequently, autistic individuals try to focus on simple tasks, and tasks that don't involve other people. In this way they can manage the throughput of sense data.
From Send in the Idiots; Bloomsbury; 2006; p68-69

In the context of the two examples that he gave, typically noticing "more details than other people" is perhaps an understatement. So what were the details that Temple noticed that others overlooked which contributed to the extremity of her opinion? If what Temple is up to is even remotely as perceptive as Kamran's friend's architectural drawing skills, or Elizabeth's musical skills, it may be prudent of NT's to at least investigate her perceptions before dismissing her ideas out of hand.

She may even have contributed indirectly to the continuation of the 99 cent value meal, the life blood of the proletariat. Once that goes and we see the true cost of beef in petrodollars (or petreuros, if you will) we'll know it's the end times.

I hear it's coming soon.
It is reported that autism is now found in one in every 150 children. If one in every 150 children were born without a nose or a hand, would people consider it an epidemic? Would we want to DO something about it?


Not all autistics see it as a disability, even non-verbal people like Amanda Baggs. I side with Amanda on this one. The less interventions the better. Especially since the "authorities" don't really seem to get it.

Autism is usually framed by the care-giving class as a state of being isolated and locked inside a shell but the opposite is closer to reality- autistics are overwhelmed by too much sensory information from the world around them.

Are autistics created or mutated?
Is the high rate of diagnosis the result of mercury-laden vaccines, the next natural step towards a transhuman future or the current psychological vogue? What did people get before there were words like autism or Asperger's Syndrome to catch? Crazy? The Nobel Prize?

I have the answer to one of those questions at least. It's from Kamran's book again. He is chatting with the director of the special school that he was sent to as a small child. It is in reference to the parent's of autistics and the difficulty of coming to terms with a "defective" child and why the idea that vaccinations cause autism might be attractive. Often the symptoms of autistic are not noticed until the child is of the age to begin speaking or interacting with other children- around the same age as the vaccinations are administered. Thus it would appear to the parent that their child had been "stolen" from them:

Ira explained that she saw the MMR vaccine story as continuous with older stories about changelings. There was a powerful folk tradition, in many parts of the world, about children who were abducted and replaced by fairies, or other creatures disguised as children. Ira gave us an example that Martin Luther told. I've looked it up since and it's worth quoting formally.
Eight years ago at Dessau, I Dr. Martin Luther, saw and touched a changeling. It was twelve years old, and from it's eyes and the fact that it had all of it's senses, one could have thought that it was a real child. It did nothing but eat; in fact it ate enough for any four peasants or threshers. It ate, it defecated, and urinated, and whenever someone touched it it cried. When bad things happened in the house it laughed and was happy; but when things went well, it cried. It had these two virtues. I said to the princes of Anhalt: 'If I were the prince or the ruler here, I would throw this child into the water - into the Molda that flows by Dessau. I would dare commit murder!' But the Elector of Saxony, who was with me at Dessau, and the princes of Anhalt did not want to follow my advice. Therefore, I said: 'Then you should have all Christians repeat the lords prayer in church that God may exorcise thr devil.' They did this daily at Dessau, and the changeling child died in the following year... Such a changeling is only a piece of flesh, a massa carnis, because it has no soul.

Arguably this child is displaying symptoms of autism. Autistic children often react badly to being touched. They find it overwhelming and they may cry to ward it off. It was unlikely that the child always laughed when bad things happened in the house and cried when the atmosphere was jollier; however, it would not be surprising for an autistic child to have failed to notice how others in the house felt and have sustained it's own version of events.
Martin Luther's remedy of exorcism, though it had tragic effects, was gentler than other remedies that might be derived from similar tales about changelings.There were stories that culminated in burning or drowning or other forms of disguised infanticide...
Ira also believed that stories about feral children were stories about children with developmental disorders. However, these were not children who grew up in the wild and thereby had developmental problems; these were children who were left in the wild because of their difficulties. Parents despaired, led them into the woods, departed, and the accounts that we have of feral children are accounts of those children who survivied long enough to be found; many more of these so-called feral children will have perished...

Send in the Idiots; Bloomsbury; 2006; p 201-202


So, you see things have not changed all that much. And to really nail it home, here is a quote about language and consciousness from Daniel C. Denning:
[He] believed that aquiring a language is a necessary precondition for consciousness. Although pre-linguistic children may stare intently, grasp at most things that they can reach, although they will yelp if they are hurt, they are not conscious. There is no subject to gather these sensory data, to turn them into experiences. There is merely a cerebral locus of effects.

Send in the Idiots
; Bloomsbury; 2006; p180


Some autistics don't learn to talk until their forties :(
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Postby chiggerbit » Mon Jan 07, 2008 10:06 pm

My oldest had a severe enough head injury when he was a young adult that he was unconscious for over a full day, and when he "returned " to consciousness, he could barely talk, had great trouble finding words. But it was even more than finding words. It was like he was in a slow motion in a world of fast motion. He could understand--mostly--after a week, so long as people talked really slowly to him, and he himself spoke slowly. He eventually returned to his almost-normal self. But I've wondered if there are people like autistics out there who live on a different dimension, maybe faster than ours, or maybe just different than ours somehow.
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Postby Susserer » Tue Jan 08, 2008 12:46 am

chiggerbit wrote: But I've wondered if there are people like autistics out there who live on a different dimension, maybe faster than ours, or maybe just different than ours somehow.


chigger I'm glad that your son is okay.

About the different dimensions, that was exactly what I was thinking after watching that show about Daniel Tammet, the prodigious autistic savant.
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Postby monster » Sun Feb 08, 2009 9:27 pm

Shouldn't Aspergians make really good bloggers?

The conventional wisdom is that the most successful blogs are niche blogs. The narrower the focus, the better.

I think an Aspergian blogging about their narrow field of interest could make a really kick-ass blog.
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Postby §ê¢rꆧ » Mon Feb 09, 2009 3:47 am

I dunno, but I'd sure like to try that squeezing machine :lol:
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Postby Code Unknown » Thu Feb 12, 2009 5:56 am

monster wrote:Shouldn't Aspergians make really good bloggers?

The conventional wisdom is that the most successful blogs are niche blogs. The narrower the focus, the better.

I think an Aspergian blogging about their narrow field of interest could make a really kick-ass blog.


I thought it was pretty obvious most bloggers were "Aspergian." That blogs were an essentially Aspergian medium. "Kick-ass" is a subjective term, however.
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