|2009 Film Biography of autistic engineer, Temple Grandin|
We all ended up watching a captivating HBO movie that my mom recommended: Temple Grandin. Claire Danes starred in this biopic about a high-functioning autistic girl who overcame the limitations imposed on her by her condition to become an expert in the field of animal husbandry and humane slaughter.
Temple developed an interest in cattle early in life while spending time at her Aunt and Uncle's ranch. She did not speak until the age of four and had difficulty right through high school, mostly in dealing with people. Her mother was very supportive as were some of her teachers. My favorite quote from the movie is when Temple's mother is talking to one of her teachers. She says, "Temple is different, but not less."
Temple Grandin, who is now in her sixties, says one reason this movie is so incredible is that - largely thanks to director, Mick Jackson's insight and creativity - it allows us to see how Temple thinks: in pictures. Claire Danes does an excellent job portraying Temple, and has a wonderful supporting cast of Catherine O'Hara, David Strathairn, and Julia Ormond.
You can also watch and listen as the real Temple Grandin lectures HERE on TED.com, with her talk "The World Needs All Kinds of Minds".
Because of the story involves the humane slaughter of cattle, the movie is best for teens, but I came across a thought-provoking biography written for kids (grades 5 and up) by Sy Montgomery, titled Temple Grandin: How the Girl Who Loved Cows Embraced Autism and Changed the World. This compelling biography is full of Temple's personal photos, and takes us inside her extraordinary mind, opening the door to a broader understanding of autism.
This book is not to be missed - add it to your kids' summer reading list!