Thursday, September 15, 2011
I saw a film about Temple Grandin the other day that was wonderful. It was called "Temple Grandin" starring Claire Danes as Dr. Grandin. It is the story of a woman who gained a Phd in animal husbandry and revolutionized the way animals are treated in the meat industry. She did it all using the prism of autism.
I first came across Grandin through the writings of Oliver Sachs. I then read her books. Even with that background, there was a lot of Grandin that I did not know about that was in this film. Although she had a lot of help especially her mother, family and teachers, Grandin was determined to carve out a life for herself and to open the doors that she saw in front of her. She became a role model for others with autism and for those who work with autism.
She designed a special "machine" that kept her calm when she was agitated by the rejection of non-autistic people. She had to learn how to get alone with them and to read their reactions and to interact with people in such a way so she could get along with them. The film also showed how mean people could be when others showed behavior that was different from the mainstream of others.
There are now books out there written by people with autism. Grandin was out there when there was no one explaining what this particular way of thinking came to the public attention. It even showed the earlier viewpoint that autism was caused by "refrigerator moms" which was never proven but repeated over and over again especially by experts. Grandin's mother was accused of not giving enough love and affection to her daughter. Her mother was also told to but her daughter in an institution which she refused to do. Those institutions for the most part do not exist anymore.
Those who are different from the norm have to fight to get a place among society and Grandin fought hard to become a function and productive member. This film shows it admirably. It won many awards for it and was released in 2010 and is available on DVD. I really recommend it.
Posted by Geneva Lorraine at 9:44 AM