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Thinking in Pictures, Expanded Edition: My Life with Autism Paperback – Jan 10 2006

4.7 out of 5 stars 38 customer reviews

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  • Thinking in Pictures, Expanded Edition: My Life with Autism
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Vintage; Expanded ed. edition (Jan. 10 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0307275655
  • ISBN-13: 978-0307275653
  • Product Dimensions: 13.2 x 1.6 x 20.3 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 358 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars 38 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #52,333 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product Description

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Oliver Sacks calls Temple Grandin's first book--and the first picture of autism from the inside--"quite extraordinary, unprecedented and, in a way, unthinkable." Sacks told part of her story in his An Anthropologist on Mars, and in Thinking in Pictures Grandin returns to tell her life history with great depth, insight, and feeling. Grandin told Sacks, "I don't want my thoughts to die with me. I want to have done something ... I want to know that my life has meaning ... I'm talking about things at the very core of my existence." Grandin's clear exposition of what it is like to "think in pictures" is immensely mind-broadening and basically destroys a whole school of philosophy (the one that declares language necessary for thought). Grandin, who feels she can "see through a cow's eyes," is an influential designer of slaughterhouses and livestock restraint systems. She has great insight into human-animal relations. It would be mere justice if Thinking in Pictures transforms the study of religious feeling, too. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Publishers Weekly

In her second autobiographical volume (after Emergence: Labelled Autistic), Grandin, a high-functioning autistic profiled by Oliver Sacks in his recent book, An Anthropologist on Mars, offers a series of original, linked essays on her life and work. An assistant professor of animal sciences at Colorado State University, her heightened ability to visualize allows her to make sense of the world by constructing concrete visual metaphors; for her, every concept must be tied into her nonverbal "video library" of particular people, places and associations. By thus enabling Grandin to put herself in the place of cows and other animals, her visual imagination has helped her to design humane livestock-processing equipment (these designs have been so effective that they now handle one-third of the nation's cattle and hogs). Throughout these essays, Grandin blends personal anecdotes with plainspoken accounts of scientific approaches to autism and methods of treatment, like drug therapy and a "squeeze machine" she invented to modify sensory stimulation. Although her prose is uneven, her insights and achievements are astonishing. Ultimately, Grandin finds within science and autism the basis for belief in God, given that her designs, which spring from her powers of visualization, reduce suffering and promote calm in both the animals and herself. Photos.
Copyright 1995 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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4.7 out of 5 stars
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Format: Paperback
I have no connection with autism. This book was recommended to me because I cannot think in pictures; my mind works with ideas and words. Temple Grandin has written a book about a way of thinking that is so alien to me she might as well be from a different planet. Absolutely amazing. I did not know that the world could be seen from this perspective. This book has changed the way I try to see the world. No TV program or lecture will cause you to shake your head in bewilderment like this book.
Temple Grandin is the Helen Keller of the 21st Century. Only her words can describe the world she lives in. Or maybe pictures.
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Format: Paperback
Temple Grandin grew up with Asperger's Syndrome before it was understood by anyone but a handful of researchers. She has turned her insights and special interest in animal science into a successful career designing livestock handling systems. She claims that the image-based thinking of the autism spectrum is similar to the language-free thought processes of animals. This insight leads to interesting conclusions about communication.

The book weaves together accounts of Grandin's life and the development of knowledge about autism. Its eleven chapters are organized by autism topics and cover visual thinking, diagnosis, sensory problems, emotion, developing talents, treatments, relationships, connecting with animals, animal thinking, autism and genius, and religion. Temple Grandin provides a clear, readable account of scientific findings supplemented by experiences from her life. This expanded version includes updated information about autism spectrum causes, diagnosis, and treatment that have become available since the book was originally published in 1996.

The author is candid about her life's hard-won lessons. She also shares the things which bring her the greatest satisfaction and what these insights may mean for others. A sample:

- Her innovative design of a "squeeze machine" to restrain cattle is based on how calming she found gentle pressure as a child.
- Temple visualized large transitions in her life as stepping through a doorway--and often found an actual doorway to step through and reduce the stress of change.
- One way to get a feel for visual, associational thinking is to play with the Google search engine for images.
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I admire Temple Grandin's way of thinking - visual thinking, which draws my attention. Although she had a speech delay in her childhood, she can turn every word she heard into pictures, where I believe she can make the gist of the framework. Then she usually turns it into the whole picture. Dr. Grandin does it every day, which has made her an avid thinker and has reinforced her imagination skill. It seems so effective to me because I think she organizes many pictures in her brain to get her message across. Therefore, she understands animals quite well, because autistic people, esp. non-verbal ones and animals basically rely on visions instead of using words. She couldn't become what she is now if she were an NT person, I'd say.

I wasn't quite sure if I talked about some scenes of Dr. Grandin's seminar on my review of The Way I See It, but I didn't expect she would make such articulate presentations. Many people with Asperger's/autism are likely to be so nervous in public; I must admit that's a stereotypical idea because she has made a lot of effort to socialize by meeting her mentor, her science teacher at high school. And that motivated her to study animal science and now she teaches that at Colorado State Univ. Also she has made a bunch of presentations on Asperger's/autism.

After all this book made me think twice about developmental impairments - Even challenged people can have opportunities to succeed in life. They might be able to make the best use of their potentials NT people have never thought of!
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Temple Grandin's autobiographical work traces the entire span of her life in order to give a full and complete picture of an individual that has found her own way to cope with and overcome many of the obstacles presented by autism. She adopts a non-linear style, supplementing the story of her recent successes with recollections of her successes and failures along the way. Her discussion of autism is complemented by ample citation of scientific sources and of the accounts of many others who suffer with similar difficulties. She provides insight into many facets of autism: sensory, emotional, physical, psychological and spiritual. The metaphor that ties her story together is her work with livestock, as she draws abundant comparisons between animal psychology and the workings of the autistic mind. The pursuit of more humane and civilized livestock-handling facilities is her life's work, and she empathizes strongly with the way that these animals feel. I found Temple Grandin's account of her life to be incredibly interesting and inspirational. I read the entire book in one sitting. Her writing style is clear and fluid and it is amazing that someone suffering from autism has been able to gain such a mastery of the written word. I saw no major weaknesses in her writing style, and was impressed by the coherent and original chronology that she employs.
The story of her life resonated with me on several different levels. Having read about autism and having seen the movie Rain Man, I thought I had a fairly good understanding of autism. Grandin's narrative opened my eyes, giving me a glimpse of the way that the autistic mind works. I also found her life to be interesting because of her work with farm animals.
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