Skip to Content


Home > 2016 Conference > 2016 Speakers > Temple Grandin, PhD

Next >

Temple Grandin, PhD

Temple Grandin, PhD
Temple Grandin, Ph.D., is considered the most accomplished and well-known adult with autism in the world. She is author of Thinking in Pictures: My Life with Autism, among others. Her books Animals in Translation and Animals Make Us Human were both New York Times bestsellers. Her life story was made into an HBO feature film starring Claire Danes. The movie received seven Emmy awards, a Golden Globe, and a Peabody Award.

At age two she had no speech, was diagnosed with autism and her parents were told she should be institutionalized. Many hours of speech therapy, and intensive teaching enabled Temple to learn speech. As a teenager, life was hard with constant teasing. Mentoring by her high school science teacher and her aunt on her ranch in Arizona motivated Temple to study and pursue a career as a scientist and livestock equipment designer. She tells her story of "groping her way from the far side of darkness" in her book Emergence: Labeled Autistic, a book which stunned the world because, until its publication, most professionals and parents assumed that an autism diagnosis was virtually a death sentence to achievement or productivity in life.

Dr. Grandin is a designer of livestock handling facilities in the United States, Canada, Europe, Mexico, Australia, New Zealand, and other countries. In North America, almost half of the cattle are handled in a center track restrainer system that she designed for meat plants. Curved chute and race systems she has designed for cattle are used worldwide and her writings on the flight zone and other principles of grazing animal behavior have helped many people to reduce stress on their animals during handling. She has authored over 400 articles in both scientific journals and livestock periodicals on animal handling, welfare, and facility design.

Dr. Grandin is sought after globally to speak about her experiences with autism, cattle handling and the humane treatment of animals. Her TED talk "The world needs all kinds of minds," has been viewed by over 3.8 million people.

She has been featured internationally in the media including National Public Radio, major television programs such as the BBC special "The Woman Who Thinks Like a Cow," ABC's Primetime Live, The Today Show, CNN Larry King Live, 60 Minutes, 48 Hours and 20/20, and has been featured in Time, People, Forbes, U.S. News and World Report, and The New York Times, among others. In 2010, Time Magazine named her one of the 100 most influential people.

Dr. Grandin obtained her B.A. at Franklin Pierce College and her M.S. in Animal Science at Arizona State University. Dr. Grandin received her Ph.D in Animal Science from the University of Illinois in 1989. Today she teaches courses on livestock behavior and facility design at Colorado State University and consults with the livestock industry on facility design, livestock handling, and animal welfare. She is a past member of the board of directors of the Autism Society of America.