Thinking in Pictures
Temple Grandin’s account of her life as a scientist with autism is moving and compelling. Thinking in Pictures was originally published in 1995, and in the 22 years since then our understanding of autism has drastically changed. Nonetheless, Grandin’s exploration of her own experience, and especially her observations about how living with autism affects her work as a scientist, remains a thought-provoking narrative.
In her memoir, Grandin attempts to explain how having autism and being a scientist is a combination that has actually served her very well in her career. Grandin notes that she finds special kinship to the infamously stoic Mr. Spock from “Star Trek.” The title of the book comes from how Grandin describes the way in which she sees the world. Rather than observing the world like most people do, Grandin explains that she sees the world in three-dimensional pictures, and that she deeply feels what she sees. This has led her to pursue research about the processes of the brain which she feels she may have a unique perspective on because of her experience with autism.
While Grandin does trace her experience with autism from her childhood onwards, she also deals in depth with her life as an adult with autism. There’s a greater lack of research concerning adults that deal with autism, so Grandin’s perspective is both welcome and insightful.
For a detailed review of Grandin’s Thinking in Pictures, check out the LA Times.
(Photo credit: The Marion Institute)