Segments in this Video

Fearful Human Mind (04:11)


Dr. Temple Grandin is a legend in the field of animal behavior. She believes her understanding of the cows comes from being born with severe autism. It was insight into her own mind in the form of an autobiography that first made her famous.

Born Different (02:36)

Dr. Temple Grandin spends most of her time working. Born in 1947, her doctors knew something was wrong by the time she was two, but did not have a name for her condition. Her mother describes her behavior as a young child.

Autistic Research (01:43)

In the 1940s a child displaying Dr. Grandin's symptoms Dr. Grandin would likely have been institutionalized. Leo Kanner and Hans Asperger in Austria both studied these children who lacked interest in social interaction.

Social and Communication Problems (02:52)

Dr. Grandin recalls scenes from her childhood. She learned to talk at age five after years of speech therapy. Psychologists diagnose autism by watching a child's behaviors. Other people can be puzzling and scary for individuals with autism.

Emotions of Autism (03:18)

People with autism are anxious and must work very hard to live in the world. Dr. Grandin gives out foreign coins to trick-or-treaters. In high school Dr. Grandin wanted the other kids to stop teasing her. She can be happy, sad, angry, and often fearful.

School for Emotionally Disturbed Children (02:52)

Plagued by anxiety and panic attacks, Dr. Grandin's childhood was deeply unhappy. A cure for autism seemed to be in sight. Psychologist Bruno Bettelheim's experience in Nazi concentration camps would revolutionize the treatment of autism.

Psychoanalyzing Autism (01:47)

According to Psychologist Bruno Bettleheim, children with autism felt unwanted and unloved and their mothers were to blame. Dr. Grandin's doctors thought she could be cured if they could uncover her psychological damage.

Unconventional Therapy for Anxiety (03:26)

At 16 Dr. Grandin spent time on a cattle ranch where she discovered her love for animals, which has continued throughout her life. She became obsessed with the squeeze shoot that held cows in place during vaccinations.

Therapeutic Effects of Squeezing (02:01)

A version of Dr. Grandin's "squeeze machine" is used by clinics around the world. It is based on sound scientific theory. Deep pressure touch lowers heart rate and respiration, which produces a relaxing affect.

Biological Disorder (02:10)

Able to control her anxiety, Dr. Grandin began to achieve academically. Berbard Rimland's interest in the autism began when his son was diagnosed. He overturned the theory that parents were to blame for the disorder by observing autism in twins.

New Era in Understanding Autism (02:42)

Rimland showed the genetic basis of autism. Brain scanning techniques are beginning to reveal what the biological cause of autism might be. It is clearly a neurological disorder. Dr. Grandin describes her brain as a corporation with many departments.

Sensory Sensitivity (02:36)

Miswiring in the brain changed the way autistic people experience the world. Dr. Grandin describes this alternate reality. Living with autism involves escaping distressing situations.

Sensory Overload (02:13)

Dr. Grandin's sensitivity problems follow her into every area of her life. Getting dressed is an issue because some materials are so uncomfortable. These problems sometimes account for what parents think is bad behavior in autistic children.

Sensory Based Thinking (02:25)

During her twenties Dr. Grandin began learning how to live with her autism and its side effects. Working on a cattle ranch, she realized she could relate to animals in a way that other people could not. Fear is the main emotion in autism.

Pushing Animal Welfare (02:30)

At age 18 Dr. Grandin left college determined to work in the cattle industry. Designing restraining equipment for cows led her to the slaughterhouse. She had a hard time getting accepted because of her gender, not her autism.

Ability to See Detail (02:47)

Dr. Grandin went down into the shoots to see what cattle were seeing. She discovered small debris would make cattle stop. Her colleagues were unconvinced that this was causing distress in the cattle.

Cattle Welfare Standards (02:22)

Dr. Grandin set up her own troubleshooting business within he cattle industry. More than half of all cattle slaughtered in the U.S. go through equipment designed by Dr. Grandin. Her ability to think like an animal has made her famous.

Dr.Grandin's Work (03:22)

Dr. Grandin's book on animal behavior has spent weeks on the best sellers list. The child who could not speak has become the voice of wisdom for many. Her insights have inspired new areas of autism research.

Credits: The Woman Who Thinks Like a Cow (00:60)

Credits: The Woman Who Thinks Like a Cow

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The Woman Who Thinks Like a Cow



This fascinating program introduces Temple Grandin, who is autistic. She is also a leading professor in her field—animal science. Temple has shattered expectations of what autistic people can achieve, and her latest theory is just as groundbreaking. She believes the autistic mind is closer to the animal mind than the typical human mind. Temple describes herself as someone who thinks in pictures, in the same way animals do. Just as animals can find it hard to learn general principles, autistic people can have difficulty understanding abstract concepts that cannot be visualized. But they can also exhibit specialist skills beyond the capability of people with normal brains. A BBC Production. (49 minutes)

Length: 49 minutes

Item#: This title is currently not available.

Copyright date: ©2006

Closed Captioned

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