Autism and Identity
Autism Digest November 2018
The Way I See it -- by Temple Grandin, PhD
Autism is an important part of who I am. I do not want to be cured and become non-autistic, because I like the logical way that I think. However, my primary identity is my career. In many of my talks, I have shown a slide of me teaching in the classroom. Recently, a mother said to me that her child would never be a college professor. She made me really think about identity.
Years before I became a college professor, I identified with my career aspirations, which involved working in the cattle industry, beginning with my designs for better treatment of cattle. In the HBO movie, Temple Grandin, I am shown placing cattle pins on my shirt. I really
liked receiving the cattle pins for winning competitions, so, in the early 70’s, when I first started visiting feedlots, I wore my cattle pins. As I accomplished more achievements, I put silver and, then, gold cattle pins on my shirts. The pins helped my literal and visual thinking
mind to establish my identity. Definitely, achievement in the cattle industry came first.
Today, I am seeing too...
Temple is an internationally
respected specialist in
designing livestock handling systems.
She is also the most famous person with
autism in the world today. She is the
subject of the Emmy Award-winning
HBO biopic Temple Grandin. She
frequently writes and speaks on the
subject of autism, sharing her personal