Snug Vest

Last Monday Animal Scientist, Professor, Autism Advocate and Snug Vest inspiration Temple Grandin signed onto Reddit to do an "AMA" (Ask Me Anything). Tons of people asked her questions on everything from her movie to livestock to autism to being a woman in the cattle industry.


Her answers are of course, fascinating, but I also loved the many other people who commented and shared their points of view. The top question you will see on the AMA is asking how accurately the movie Temple Grandin portrayed how she thinks. Her response?

"It accurately shows how my visual thinking works. The scene that showed all the shoes appearing in rapid succession is exactly how I think."

Many, many other people on the autism spectrum also chimed in to share how they think. Some people had very similar experience, such as jmerridew124 who commented

"As someone on the spectrum, the part where the wall pattern slid around so the floral pattern was symmetrical blew my mind. I've never seen my way of thinking illustrated anywhere near that accurately."

Others have different ways of thinking, and were happy to share their experineces. For example, Fattygaby157 went on to describe how they think in colours:

"I correlate colors with my senses. Something feels brown, that smells like periwinkle, that city is green. Also, individual numbers, letters, images, have colors. Weird, I know.
Someone once asked me where in Texas is the Dr. Pepper brewery. First thought: green, It was someplace green. Oh yeah, Green. Shamrock. Ireland. Dublin! Dublin, Texas is where they make Dr. Pepper.


I'm absolutely awesome at memorizing taxonomy. Anything that can be drawn out and colored in will stay permanently accessible in my brain. I color code all my notes, I draw out my anatomical diagrams, I recreate images of the animals I'm studying - I once drew over 90 different species of birds on flash cards for my ornithology class in college. Aced the test!

But I also have to write everything down. EVERYTHING. I have to draw out my thoughts so I can organize whats going on in my brain and make it comprehendible to other people. I'm ADHD, so slowing things down by drawing out the problem makes me take the time to analyze each moving part and figure out the best way to tackle a problem."


Wordsftw responded to this with "you just described something I have never been able to decipher exactly about the way I sense things! Thank you!"

If you want to learn more about how your child, student, brother, or friend thinks, I recommend reading both Temple Grandin's comments and the many responses from members of the Reddit community.

Another topic of interest was that of being a woman in the meat industry in the 70s & 80s.

When I started in the early 1970’s, the only women in the beef industry were working as secretaries in the office. I was the first woman in Arizona to handle cattle in the feedlot. The scene in the HBO movie where the bull testicles were left on my windshield actually happened. Being a woman in a man’s world was a much bigger issue than being autistic. There were some good people in the industry that recognized my abilities. I found it was much easier to sell them the equipment or design than it was to actually convince them to handle cattle calmly. I had to be twice as good as a man. It frustrated me that men could mess up a design project and still have a job. There were some good people that supported me and encouraged me to keep working. I learned I had to sell people my work. When I showed people my drawings of handling facility designs, they were impressed.

This is a huge comment that really puts everything into perspective. Most people ask her and others diagnosed with ASD about the challenges they faced as a result of autism, and overlook other non-related barriers that may hold them back.

Hopefully you find this as interesting as we do, and if you would like to read the rest of this AMA (highly recommended!) click here.

Written by Monica McMahen — November 28, 2014

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