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Thinking in Pictures (Expanded, Tie-in Edition): My Life with Autism    by Temple Grandin order for
Thinking in Pictures (Expanded, Tie-in Edition)
by Temple Grandin
Order:  USA  Can
Vintage, 2010 (2010)

Read an Excerpt

* * *   Reviewed by Elizabeth Schulenburg

Temple Grandin is a widely respected and highly acclaimed scientist. Over a third of all the cattle processed in the United States use confinement equipment that she designed. She single-handedly revolutionized the treatment of cattle by creating safe and humane holding pens, dipping tanks, and countless other designs that keep cattle calm and relaxed as they are moved through the chutes. She has been published in many peer-reviewed scientific journals, and is a popular speaker on the lecture circuit.

Temple Grandin is also autistic. As a baby, she would stiffen and pull away when her parents tried to hold her. She began staring into space, fixated on single objects, and throwing temper tantrums when she was overwhelmed. Her mother fought for her daughter to get the best education possible, and surrounded her with mentors who encouraged Grandin to use the special talents she possessed as an autistic person to make her own life better.

Thinking in Pictures is Grandin's brilliant look into the autistic mind. She explains, in simple, straightforward prose, the differences between the inner workings of her brain and those of a non-autistic person. She also quotes a collection of books and interviews with other autistic persons, to show that not all autistic minds work the same - in fact, there are as many differences as there are people.

Grandin carefully and methodically explains many of the most common stereotypes of autistic persons - their inability to tolerate touch, their difficulties with speech and the written word, their dislike of loud noises, their lack of emotional connection. Using her solid scientific background, she is able to share concrete biological and biochemical reasons for the often distressing behavior non-autistic persons witness - by the time she is done, each specific behavior makes sense based on the information she provides.

Her writing style is direct and pointed - she doesn't dance around the subject, or try to sugar-coat it with fancy words or phrases. She is honest and upfront about her shortcomings, and has a remarkable insight into how her own behavior affects others. If you know someone with autism, this book will be a revelation. With autism cases on the rise, I would encourage everyone to read Thinking in Pictures. Powerful and enlightening, it will change the way you view autistic persons forever.

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