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Thinking in Pictures, Expanded Edition: My Life with Autism Paperback – Print, January 26, 2010
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Oliver Sacks calls Temple Grandin's first book--and the first picture of autism from the inside--"quite extraordinary, unprecedented and, in a way, unthinkable." Sacks told part of her story in his An Anthropologist on Mars, and in Thinking in Pictures Grandin returns to tell her life history with great depth, insight, and feeling. Grandin told Sacks, "I don't want my thoughts to die with me. I want to have done something ... I want to know that my life has meaning ... I'm talking about things at the very core of my existence." Grandin's clear exposition of what it is like to "think in pictures" is immensely mind-broadening and basically destroys a whole school of philosophy (the one that declares language necessary for thought). Grandin, who feels she can "see through a cow's eyes," is an influential designer of slaughterhouses and livestock restraint systems. She has great insight into human-animal relations. It would be mere justice if Thinking in Pictures transforms the study of religious feeling, too. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
From Publishers Weekly
In her second autobiographical volume (after Emergence: Labelled Autistic), Grandin, a high-functioning autistic profiled by Oliver Sacks in his recent book, An Anthropologist on Mars, offers a series of original, linked essays on her life and work. An assistant professor of animal sciences at Colorado State University, her heightened ability to visualize allows her to make sense of the world by constructing concrete visual metaphors; for her, every concept must be tied into her nonverbal "video library" of particular people, places and associations. By thus enabling Grandin to put herself in the place of cows and other animals, her visual imagination has helped her to design humane livestock-processing equipment (these designs have been so effective that they now handle one-third of the nation's cattle and hogs). Throughout these essays, Grandin blends personal anecdotes with plainspoken accounts of scientific approaches to autism and methods of treatment, like drug therapy and a "squeeze machine" she invented to modify sensory stimulation. Although her prose is uneven, her insights and achievements are astonishing. Ultimately, Grandin finds within science and autism the basis for belief in God, given that her designs, which spring from her powers of visualization, reduce suffering and promote calm in both the animals and herself. Photos.
Copyright 1995 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Top Customer Reviews
Ms. Grandin's greatest gift lies in her ability to understand both the worlds of non-autistics and autistics alike. Using her personal experiences as well as significant contributions from other people, she explains how baffling the world is to a person with autistism, in terms of unwritten social codes, our reliance on verbal thinking, relationships, appearances, etc. She discusses concrete ways in which autistics can be helped to integrate with society -- in families, friendships, other relationships, schools, and jobs.
Her chapter on medication is valuable, discussing how autism often requires different doses than are commonly prescribed. This is information that isn't readily available unless you are working with a physician who has extensive experience with autistic patients. Since an autistic person is highly sensitive, the effects of behavior modification medications are often amplified, requiring a lower dose. Particular attention needs to be given to medication combinations.
There is also information on many of the related disorders that often accompany autism, such as sensory integration disorders, Tourrette's Syndrome, ADD, etc. Everything is written from the perspective of the autistic with Ms. Grandin acting as translator.
Besides being informative, the book is optimistic in its view of autism. Ms. Grandin plainly credits autism for her success in her chosen profession. In fact, my only criticism of the book is the length of time she devotes to discussing her career path (this information is also contained in her earlier book "Emergence" ). However, this information may be motivating to autistics reading the book as she certainly has achieved remarkable things. She also includes a chapter on other highly accomplished autistics, with the message that different neurological wiring can be a great asset if properly supported early in life.
It is an informative, inspirational book that opens a window on autism and lets the rest of the world look in and understand.
Reading this book I wondered if, without the awe-inspiring differences, we would have ever moved out of mud huts. It seems to me that the lessons stretch far beyond what it means to have Aspergers, although learning what that means is an incredible gift.
We need to treat our differences with awe, wonder and respect and recognize how people who are "differently wired" have helped to shape our world.
On a test in high school that measured ability to visualize for spacial relations, I scored 99.99% for all women and above 98% of all men. Verbal processing was always a chore, however, and social cues were and continue to be learned by hard experience and in some cases remain a mystery in many cases. A class that teaches social norms would be good for kids now since they are not obvious to us picture thinkers. Thank goodness Temple's mother and my own mother found ways to help us flourish. We all have special gifts and weaknesses. The key is to realize your strengths and find work in that direction, plus find ways to help your weaknesses. I would also recommend another of her books, "The Austistic Brain". At the end, it discussed strengths and what types of jobs might be good for each. This is similar to my high school career test.
I would definitely recommend this book. Temple's observations helped cattle be processed more humanely. I admit I was a bit squeamish about that part but hearing that she cared about them and found ways to make their time in processing better softened this topic.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I'm such a fan of Temple Grandin and was even before my son was diagnosed with autism.Read more