Friday, March 11, 2011

Labeled Autistic

Emergence: Labeled Autistic by Temple Grandin and Margaret M. Scariano
Weight: 6 oz
Method of Disposal: Leaving in a public place or giving it to you if you are willing to ask for it

This year I had the chance to see Temple Grandin speak at a training conference and, as expected, she was amazing. A whole chain of events has led me to Temple Grandin and to my extreme respect for her, though I did not recognize it for years. I never remembered author’s names before I attended college and now I remember authors before titles. Because of this, when I bought and read Emergence over a decade ago I did not think about it again when I picked up another one of Grandin’s books. The other book I put on a shelf and did not get around to reading for a couple years. One year, for my birthday, my brother bought me her book on understanding animal emotions. I had trouble with the writing style, but I got through it and was impressed with the information. I bought another book of hers about animals.

Eventually, I would see the movie on the recommendation of a friend. It helped me give a voice to the words I had been reading, and I couldn’t stop myself. I talked about her all the time, re-read her books, bought new ones, named two dogs at the shelter Temple and Grandin, and eventually was able to see her in person because of the helpfulness of a complete stranger that I met when we brought some PAWS dogs to a training facility. Everything just fell into place and, the next thing I know, I have a hotel room over 30 floors up and a very expensive name tag that can get me into the right building. Who cared that my name was Jennifer, and I came from out of state?

I just re-discovered this book a week ago. I saw it on the shelf, remembered reading it, but had never made the connection. The cover is so dramatic and has since changed. It has a scratched up photo of a girl looking sad, font that is meant to look like scratchy handwriting, the words “a true story” posted over the title, and “She lived in a world like no other…” on the back. It is absurd. It has since been updated to feature a girl in a thin dress jumping on green grass. It is much less bleak, and the transformation cracks me up.

I recommend that every one read the work of Temple Grandin and watch her movie. She is amazing. You will learn a lot about animals and about autism. If someone does not ask me for this book I will not know what to think. You are really missing out. There will be more coming too. I just haven’t been able to bring myself to part with them.

The other thing you will glean from Grandin’s biography is the strength and affection of her mother, who I also admire very much. Grandin was not always well-behaved, but she was always smart. That can be a difficult mix for some people, but her mother reveled in the challenge and always supported and loved her daughter, who truly was unique and world-changing. Just read her stuff! I don’t know how to relay all the information to you.


  1. Temple Grandin just did a huge talk in Hartford and a good friend went and so did a church member and they keep raving about it to me and they, plus you, make me want to read her work. So, I'm asking for your book, but am totally aware that I've been the WORST keeper in toucher of all time this year so I feel sheepish. But srsly. I want that book. Baaaaaaaa.

  2. You can, of course, have it! I just wrote you a letter. I will send the book out sometime next week. You should look into her other stuff too. There is something about all of it together that makes it even better.