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Autism and agriculture

Author and professor Temple Grandin is a leader in the design of livestock handling facilities. Grandin was diagnosed with autism as a child. She is now  the most accomplished and well-known adult with autism in the world. She has been featured by Time magazine, NPR, the BBC, The Today Show, 20/20 and the New York Times. Grandin will speak in Powell later this month. Author and professor Temple Grandin is a leader in the design of livestock handling facilities. Grandin was diagnosed with autism as a child. She is now the most accomplished and well-known adult with autism in the world. She has been featured by Time magazine, NPR, the BBC, The Today Show, 20/20 and the New York Times. Grandin will speak in Powell later this month. Courtesy photo/Rosalie Winard

Temple Grandin speaks on autism and animal welfare Monday, Feb. 25, in Powell

One of Time Magazine’s “100 Most Influential People in the World” will be in Powell Monday, Feb. 25, to talk about the two things she’s most renowned for: autism and animal welfare.

Temple Grandin will discuss “Improving Animal Welfare: A Practical Approach” at 10 a.m. in the Nelson Performing Arts Center Auditorium on the NWC campus.

She’ll present a program titled “Autism and My Sensory-Based World” at 7 p.m. in the Powell High School Auditorium.

Admission is $10 per person to each program or $15 per family. Discounts are available to school employees and parents who have children in area school districts.

Early registration is encouraged because of limited seating. To register, visit www.northwestcollege.edu/ctd.

Grandin showed all the signs of severe autism at age 2. Despite doctors’ recommendations that she be institutionalized, Grandin worked with speech tutors and persevered to eventually earn a doctorate in animal science. She has since revolutionized practices for the humane handling of livestock on cattle ranches and in slaughterhouses.

She continues her research as a professor of animal sciences at Colorado State University where she teaches courses on livestock handling and facility design.

In 2010, Grandin was named one of Time Magazine’s 100 Most Influential People. She was the focus the same year of an award-winning HBO movie starring Claire Danes and became a member of the Cowgirl Hall of Fame the following year.

The author of 10 books, Grandin has deeply impacted agricultural audiences as well as audiences interested in autism. Her book “Animals in Translation” was a New York Times best-seller, and her 2007 title, “Livestock Handling and Transport,” now has a third edition.

Other popular books authored by Grandin include “Thinking in Pictures,” “Emergence Labeled Autistic,” “Animals Make Us Human,” “Improving Animal Welfare: A Practical Approach” and “The Way I See It.”

Grandin has been honored numerous times by the livestock industry, including a Lifetime Achievement Award from the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association and a Meritorious Achievement Award from the Livestock Conservation Institute.

As one of the world’s leaders in the design of livestock handling facilities, she’s designed facilities throughout the United States and in Canada, Europe, Mexico, Australia, New Zealand and other countries. Half the cattle in the United States and Canada are handled in equipment using her designs for meat plants.

As an industry consultant, she’s worked with numerous large feedlots and commercial meat packers, as well as for companies like Wendy’s International, Burger King, Whole Foods, Chipotle and McDonald’s where she has trained auditors regarding animal care at processing plants.

Grandin has published research in the areas of cattle temperament, environmental enrichment of pigs, livestock behavior during handling, reducing dark cutters and bruises, bull fertility, housing dairy cattle and effective stunning methods for cattle and hogs.

She’s provided worldwide media exposure for the livestock industry, particularly with issues relating to animal care, with appearances on television shows such as 20/20, 48 Hours, CNN Larry King Live and 60 Minutes. She’s also been featured in Forbes, U.S. News and World Report and others.

Grandin is a past member of the Autism Society of America board of directors. She lectures parents and teachers throughout the United States about her experiences with autism. She’s familiar to many who deal with autism through her articles and interviews in the New York Times, People, National Public Radio, 20/20, The View and the BBC.

Grandin’s appearances in Powell are sponsored by the Northwest College Center for Training and Development.

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1 comment

  • posted by Gene Bensinger

    February 12, 2013 11:01 am

    According to credible studies, he current unemployment rate for adults with autism exceeds 80%. Many adults with autism, including those who are highly impacted by the disorder, can benefit from employment in agricultural sciences, if it's made available to them. With appropriate supports, people with autism can be excellent employees. Agricultural Communities of Adults with Autism (ACAA)is a consortium of established and "in development" groups focused on agricultural based employment and housing options. http://www.ac-aa.org

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