137+ Best Temple Grandin Quotes: Exclusive Selection

Mary Temple Grandin is an American professor of animal science at Colorado State University, consultant to the livestock industry on animal behavior, and autism spokesperson. Profoundly inspirational Temple Grandin quotes will challenge the way you think, and help guide you through any life experience.

Famous Temple Grandin Quotes

People are always looking for the single magic bullet that will totally change everything. There is no single magic bullet. – Temple Grandin

I know a number of autistic adults that are doing extremely well on Prozac. – Temple Grandin

Normal people have an incredible lack of empathy. They have good emotional empathy, but they don’t have much empathy for the autistic kid who is screaming at the baseball game because he can’t stand the sensory overload. Or the autistic kid having a meltdown in the school cafeteria because there’s too much stimulation. – Temple Grandin

I’m a child of the 50s. I was expected to have table manners. There needs to be some expectations for behavior. I’m seeing some children today, they don’t push them enough. – Temple Grandin

One thing I’d like to just keep on doing is I want to educate people about animal behavior and about autism. I’ve been doing autism talks for the last 20 years and there still are people out there that do not want to, they can’t recognize that these sensory problems are real. That, for some of these kids when that fire alarm goes off, that really hurts the ears, it’s a really real thing. – Temple Grandin

All animals and people have the same core emotion systems in the brain. – Temple Grandin

You have to use food motivation whereas a dog will do things for you just for social motivation, praise and petting. Also with any animal you want to stroke it. Don’t pat it, stroke it. Most don’t like patting. – Temple Grandin

These diagnostic profiles like depression, ADHD, autism, dyslexia, it’s half science and the other half is a committee of doctors bickering over what it should be, and it has changed. It’s not precise like a diagnosis of tuberculosis would be very precise. – Temple Grandin

Research has shown that a barren environment is much more damaging to baby animals than it is to adult animals. It does not hurt the adult animals the same way it damages babies. – Temple Grandin

Seeking is a combination of emotions people usually think of as being different: wanting something really good, looking forward to getting something really good and curiosity. Seeking gives you the energy to go after your goals. – Temple Grandin

I can explain how a person with autism thinks. I am very, very interested in how people think. It’s been a gradual process of learning more and more about how my thinking process is different. You know it’s bottom up – you take specific examples to make concepts and then I put them in categories. – Temple Grandin

People with autism aren’t interested in social chit-chat. – Temple Grandin

I’m seeing too many kids where they get fixated on their own autism. I’d rather have them get fixated that they like programming computers or they like art or they want to sing in the church choir or they want to train dogs, you know, something that they can turn into a career. – Temple Grandin

Everything I think is in pictures. – Temple Grandin

Fear was my main emotion until I started taking anti-depressant medication. And I was one of the people where, as I got older, the fear got worse and worse. So I can really relate to an animal getting, you know, scared and traumatized. – Temple Grandin

Language for me narrates the pictures in my mind. When I work on designing livestock equipment I can test run that equipment in my head like 3-D virtual reality. In fact, when I was in college I used to think that everybody was able to do that. – Temple Grandin

From a scientific standpoint, Aspergers and autism are one syndrome. Aspergers is part of the autism spectrum, not a separate disorder. – Temple Grandin

The autistic brain tends to be a specialist brain, good at one thing, bad at something else. – Temple Grandin

My mother was always expanding my art skills and getting me to paint different things. You always got to push some. And, I mean, I learned basic things like getting up on time, how to shop – you know, you don’t touch things in a store you’re not going to buy. These things were taught very young. I don’t see today enough of this basic, you know, basic skill teaching. – Temple Grandin

Different cats don’t like certain litter. They also don’t like an unstable floor, no animal like’s unstable floor. So if you put a thin piece of plastic down under a litter box and the cat walks on it and starts to slip, they don’t like that. Any animal doesn’t like an unstable floor. – Temple Grandin

Things like microphones are dangerous things because you never know when they might feedback and squeal. – Temple Grandin

You get these fear memories that are hard to undo. – Temple Grandin

Now there are a few things with a shelter – like with noise control, don’t face dog runs facing each other that tends to encourage barking. The problem you’ve got is that the kind of materials that absorb noise are difficult to clean. One of the biggest problems in the design of animal shelters is that animals are barking and it’s like the sound of a jet plane taking off. – Temple Grandin

My life – autism’s an important part of it, but it bothers me when I see kids where autism and their autism is the only thing they think about. I’d rather have them think about, you know, some art work they were gonna do or some science they wanted to do. – Temple Grandin

I get asked a lot why cats mess outside the litter box. The simplest thing is if you have more than one cat and you have two litter boxes, don’t put them right next to each other. – Temple Grandin

The thing is, autism is all different, you know, variables. And you start out with a certain amount of, you know, the point where the differences in the brain are going to just be a personality variant and, like, for very mild Asperger’s. But you get into more severe kinds of autism where there’s obvious speech delay, obvious abnormal behavior in a two and three-year-old child, you know, the initial neurology is different from case to case. But all children with autism are going to do better if they get really good educational intervention. – Temple Grandin

I’m seeing too many smart kind of socially awkward kids, a lot milder than I was, not getting employment because they’re not learning job skills. – Temple Grandin

There is a small segment of people with autism that have savant skills, where they can memorize entire maps of whole entire city. They can do calendar calculations. And this is similar to some of the skills that animals have. – Temple Grandin

If you have autism in the family history, you still vaccinate. Delay it a bit, space them out. – Temple Grandin

Some children may need a behavioral approach, whereas other children may need a sensory approach. – Temple Grandin

A cat can be social, but a dog, we’ve bred this hyper social animal that’s really truly different and will do stuff for us just to please us with praise and stroking. – Temple Grandin

I believe that the best way to create good living conditions for any animal, whether it’s a captive animal living in a zoo, a farm animal or a pet, is to base animal welfare programs on the core emotion systems in the brain. My theory is that the environment animals live in should activate their positive emotions as much as possible, and not activate their negative emotions any more than necessary. If we get the animal’s emotions rights, we will have fewer problem behaviors… All animals and people have the same core emotion systems in the brain. – Temple Grandin

Steve Jobs was probably mildly on the autistic spectrum. Basically, you’ve probably known people who were geeky and socially awkward but very smart. When does geeks and nerds become autism? That’s a gray area. Half the people in Silicon Valley probably have autism. – Temple Grandin

For example, if ears are back on a horse, it’s obviously not very happy. And the eyes show that it’s not happy. Now, if the eyes are nice and soft and brown, then it’s calm. You can see these things in horses and cattle, and I think that some of these people are just really good at picking up these signals, but they don’t realize it. – Temple Grandin

Autism’s an important part of who I am, but I’m a college professor and an animal scientist first. And I wouldn’t want to change ’cause I like the logical way I think. – Temple Grandin

I am also a believer in an integrated treatment approach to autism. – Temple Grandin

There tends to be a lot of autism around the tech centers… when you concentrate the geeks, you’re concentrating the autism genetics. – Temple Grandin

Pressure is calming to the nervous system. – Temple Grandin

If you start using a medication in a person with autism, you should see an obvious improvement in behavior in a short period of time. If you do not see an obvious improvement, they probably should not be taking the stuff. It is that simple. – Temple Grandin

It’s very important for the parents of young autistic children to encourage them to talk, or for those that don’t talk, to give them a way of communicating, like a picture board, where they can point to a glass of milk, or a jacket if they’re cold, or the bathroom. If they want something, then they need to learn to request that thing. – Temple Grandin

Unfortunately, most people never observe the natural cycle of birth and death. They do not realize that for one living thing to survive, another living thing must die. – Temple Grandin

I’d rather have a kid come up to me and tell me that he loves dinosaurs or he loves airplanes or he likes training dogs or I like Shakespeare. I mean, just something. – Temple Grandin

Medication should never be considered the only tool for helping a person. – Temple Grandin

I get satisfaction out of seeing stuff that makes real change in the real world. We need a lot more of that and a lot less abstract stuff. – Temple Grandin

There needs to be a lot more emphasis on what a child CAN do, instead of what he cannot do. – Temple Grandin

People on the autism spectrum don’t think the same way you do. In my life, people who made a difference were those who didn’t see labels, who believed in building on what was there. These were people who didn’t try to drag me into their world, but came into mine instead. – Temple Grandin

What would happen if the autism gene was eliminated from the gene pool? You would have a bunch of people standing around in a cave, chatting and socializing and not getting anything done. – Temple Grandin

The world needs different kinds of minds to work together. – Temple Grandin

I am different, not less – Temple Grandin

I think using animals for food is an ethical thing to do, but we’ve got to do it right. We’ve got to give those animals a decent life, and we’ve got to give them a painless death. We owe the animal respect. – Temple Grandin

The thing about being autistic is that you gradually get less and less autistic, because you keep learning, you keep learning how to behave. It’s like being in a play; I’m always in a play. – Temple Grandin

I strongly recommend that students with autism get involved in special interest clubs in some of the areas they naturally excel at. Being with people who share your interests makes socializing easier. – Temple Grandin

We owe them [animals] a decent life and a decent death, and their lives should be as low-stress as possible. That’s my job. I wish animals could have more than just a low-stress life and a quick, painless death. I wish animals could have a good life, too, with something useful to do. People were animals, too, once, and when we turned into human beings we gave something up. Being close to animals brings some of it back. – Temple Grandin

Nature is cruel but we don’t have to be – Temple Grandin

People talk about curing autism. But if you got rid of all those traits, who’s going to make the next computer? – Temple Grandin

Mild autism can give you a genius like Einstein. If you have severe autism, you could remain nonverbal. You don’t want people to be on the severe end of the spectrum. But if you got rid of all the autism genetics, you wouldn’t have science or art. All you would have is a bunch of social ‘yak yaks.’ – Temple Grandin

You got to get away from words if you want to understand any animal. It thinks in pictures, it thinks in smells, it thinks in touch sensations – little sound bites like, it’s a very detailed memory. – Temple Grandin

I can remember the frustration of not being able to talk. I knew what I wanted to say, but I could not get the words out, so I would just scream. – Temple Grandin

In an ideal world the scientist should find a method to prevent the most severe forms of autism but allow the milder forms to survive. After all, the really social people did not invent the first stone spear. It was probably invented by an Aspie who chipped away at rocks while the other people socialized around the campfire. Without autism traits we might still be living in caves. – Temple Grandin

If you see a child with autistic-like behaviors at age two and three, the worst thing you can do is just let them sit and watch TV all day. That’s just the worst thing you can do. You need to have a teacher working with that child, working on teaching language, working on social interaction, working on getting them interested in different things, and keeping their brain connected to the world. – Temple Grandin

Social thinking skills must be directly taught to children and adults with ASD. Doing so opens doors of social understandings in all areas of life. – Temple Grandin

People can live up to high standards, but they can’t live up to perfection. – Temple Grandin

You have got to keep autistic children engaged with the world. You cannot let them tune out. – Temple Grandin

You can be honest without sharing your opinions on everything. – Temple Grandin

I don’t want my thoughts to die with me, I want to have done something. I’m not interested in power, or piles of money. I want to leave something behind. I want to make a positive contribution – know that my life has meaning. – Temple Grandin

My grandfather was an engineer who invented the automatic pilot for airplanes. – Temple Grandin

A treatment method or an educational method that will work for one child may not work for another child. The one common denominator for all of the young children is that early intervention does work, and it seems to improve the prognosis. – Temple Grandin

Some teachers just have a knack for working with autistic children. Other teachers do not have it. – Temple Grandin

I was so afraid to go out west to my aunt’s ranch. But the only choice my mother gave me was to go for two weeks or all summer. I wound up staying all summer. And that’s where I learned about cattle. I could relate to their behavior, their fears. – Temple Grandin

I would never talk just to be social. Now, to sit down with a bunch of engineers and talk about the latest concrete forming systems, that’s really interesting. Talking with animal behaviorists or with someone who likes to sail, that’s interesting. Information is interesting to me. But talking for the sake of talking, I find that quite boring. – Temple Grandin

I think that autistic brains tend to be specialized brains. Autistic people tend to be less social. It takes a ton of processor space in the brain to have all the social circuits. – Temple Grandin

Autism is a neurological disorder. It’s not caused by bad parenting. It’s caused by, you know, abnormal development in the brain. The emotional circuits in the brain are abnormal. And there also are differences in the white matter, which is the brain’s computer cables that hook up the different brain departments. – Temple Grandin

Let’s get into talking about how autism is similar animal behavior. The thing is I don’t think in a language, and animals don’t think in a language. It’s sensory based thinking, thinking in pictures, thinking in smells, thinking in touches. It’s putting these sensory based memories into categories. – Temple Grandin

I had people in my life who didn’t give up on me: my mother, my aunt, my science teacher. I had one-on-one speech therapy. I had a nanny who spent all day playing turn-taking games with me. – Temple Grandin

Who do you think made the first stone spears? The Asperger guy. If you were to get rid of all the autism genetics, there would be no more Silicon Valley. – Temple Grandin

I am much less autistic now, compared to when I was young. I remember some behaviors like picking carpet fuzz and watching spinning plates for hours. I didn’t want to be touched. I couldn’t shut out background noise. I didn’t talk until I was about 4 years old. I screamed. I hummed. But as I grew up, I improved. – Temple Grandin

One of my sensory problems was hearing sensitivity, where certain loud noises, such as a school bell, hurt my ears. It sounded like a dentist drill going through my ears. – Temple Grandin

I’m a visual thinker, not a language-based thinker. My brain is like Google Images. – Temple Grandin

I think the core criterion is the social awkwardness, but the sensory issues are a serious problem in many, many cases of autism, and they make it impossible to operate in the environment where you’re supposed to be social. – Temple Grandin

I cannot emphasize enough the importance of a good teacher. – Temple Grandin

Children between the ages of five to ten years are even more variable. They are going to vary from very high functioning, capable of doing normal school work, to nonverbal who have all kinds of neurological problems. – Temple Grandin

I had problems getting my words out. If people spoke directly to me, I understood what they said. But when the grownups got to yakking really fast by themselves, it just sounded like ‘oi oi.’ I thought grownups had a separate language. I’ve now figured out I was not hearing the hard consonant sounds. – Temple Grandin

The most important thing people did for me was to expose me to new things. – Temple Grandin

The squeeze machine is not going to cure anybody, but it may help them relax; and a relaxed person will usually have better behavior. – Temple Grandin

I like to figure things out and solve problems. – Temple Grandin

We have got to work on keeping these children engaged with the world. – Temple Grandin

I think sometimes parents and teachers fail to stretch kids. My mother had a very good sense of how to stretch me just slightly outside my comfort zone. – Temple Grandin

I’ve always thought of myself as a cattle-handling specialist, a college professor first; autism is secondary. – Temple Grandin

What I’ve tried to do is combine both my personal experiences with scientific research. I like to cross the divide between the personal world and the scientific world. – Temple Grandin

Computerized medical records will enable statistical analysis to be used to determine which treatments are most effective. – Temple Grandin

As you may know, some of the stereotyped behaviors exhibited by autistic children are also found in zoo animals who are raised in a barren environment. – Temple Grandin

Some people with autism who don’t talk, all they hear are vowel sounds. Like if I said ‘cup,’ they might just hear ‘uh.’ – Temple Grandin

My mind sort of works like a search engine. You ask me something, and I start seeing pictures. – Temple Grandin

I obtain great satisfaction out of using my intellect. – Temple Grandin

When you take a drug to treat high blood pressure or diabetes, you have an objective test to measure blood pressure and the amount of sugar in the blood. It is straight-forward. With autism, you are looking for changes in behavior. – Temple Grandin

I’ve worked with tons of people that I know who are on the spectrum – but now I think severe autism has really increased. – Temple Grandin

If I did not have my work, I would not have any life. – Temple Grandin

Some autistic children cannot stand the sound of certain voices. I have come across cases where teachers tell me that certain children have problems with their voice or another person’s voice. This problem tends to be related to high-pitched ladies’ voices. – Temple Grandin

My problems are sort of more on a nuisance level. I can’t stand scratchy clothes, I’ve got to have soft kinds of cotton against my skin, and I don’t know why some 100% cotton t-shirts itch and others don’t; it has something to do with the weave. – Temple Grandin

Research is starting to show that a child should be engaged at least 20 hours a week. I do not think it matters which program you choose as long as it keeps the child actively engaged with the therapist, teacher, or parent for at least 20 hours a week. – Temple Grandin

Language just gradually came in, one or two stressed words a time. Before then, I would just scream. I couldn’t talk. I couldn’t get my words out. So the only way I could tell someone what I wanted was to scream. If I didn’t want to wear a hat, the only way I knew to communicate was screaming and throwing it on the floor. – Temple Grandin

When I was in high school and college, I thought everybody could think in pictures. And my first inkling to my thinking was even different was when I was in college and I read an article about, you know, some scientist said that the caveman could not have designed tools until they had language. – Temple Grandin

I have been on the same dose of anti-depressants for 15 years, and my nerves still go up and down in cycles; but my nerves are cycling at a lower level than they were before. – Temple Grandin

Autistic children are very difficult to take care of, especially severely autistic ones. When I was 4, I had almost no language; when I was 3, I had none at all. – Temple Grandin

I use my mind to solve problems and invent things. – Temple Grandin

I am a big believer in early intervention. – Temple Grandin

And while we are on the subject of medication you always need to look at risk versus benefit. – Temple Grandin

I like to cross the divide between the personal world and the scientific world. – Temple Grandin

I was expected to sit at the table, learn how to eat properly. – Temple Grandin

I would not be here now if I did not have anti-depressants. – Temple Grandin

Costs for liability insurance are higher than costs for many procedures. There is a need to reform liability laws to stop out-of-control health care costs. – Temple Grandin

It’s much more work for the mother of an autistic child to have a job, because working with an autistic child is such a hassle until they go to school. – Temple Grandin

One big question that’s come up is: Has autism increased on the mild side of things? I don’t think so – they’ve always been here. Some of this is increased detection. – Temple Grandin

There is a tremendous range of children with a PDD label. – Temple Grandin

When I was a little child I had problems with eating in the cafeteria. The chairs would be jerking in and out, and there was a noise overload. – Temple Grandin

I thought I could fix everything with engineering. – Temple Grandin

Junior high was a real mess for me and then came puberty. My anxiety attacks came during puberty, and then all of my nerves started. – Temple Grandin

You gotta bleed ’em in 60 seconds or less. – Temple Grandin

I’m wondering where the next Einstein is going to be. He’s going to be driving a FedEx truck. – Temple Grandin

The head must be dead. I can’t stress that enough. – Temple Grandin

The other thing, the reason why feral kitties are hard to tame is because they have missed socialization the period – you need to be touching and petting those kittens when they are real young. – Temple Grandin

Whereas an elephant that was scared to death that diesel powered equipment, equipment that ran on a gas engine, was just fine. Because somebody had attacked it with construction equipment. – Temple Grandin

Well the dog that is the most is the a Labrador retrievers because they tolerate kids tugging on them and things better than other dogs. They are a real good natured. They’re also real calm and sometimes when working with autistic children that’s probably more popular dog breed – now there are different ways to use service animals. – Temple Grandin

I mean, you can tame feral cats now, but you are never gonna get them like a cat that’s been socialized at a very young age – Temple Grandin

Some cats don’t like different types of kitty litter. So might try different types of kitty litter sometimes that works. You know, they don’t like one type that sticks to the paws and they don’t like it. – Temple Grandin

People need to learn how to work, learn how to support themselves. I think it’s just fine to be eccentric. – Temple Grandin

I want get people to think about sensory based of thinking. – Temple Grandin

What do I do when I go home? Work. That’s basically my social life. I’m married to work. – Temple Grandin

I’ve got a lot of other people who do a lot of things for me, so I’ve gotten to a part in my career where I’m doing a lot of talks because I want to get kids turned on. I want to see these kids, these geeky nerdy kids, go out there and do something. – Temple Grandin

I tend to be much more in the present and my emotions are simpler. I can be happy, I can be sad, I can be depressed, but there’s a complexity that I don’t have. I don’t brood the same way. Fear is my main emotion. – Temple Grandin

Like, for example you beat the dog up and they’re looking at you and your Nike shoes or any sneaker or anything like a Nike, he’s likely to be afraid of that – so anything without that Nike wingtip, he’s likely to be fine. If you think about it, that’s a different picture, than a Nike type shoe. Its specific because its sensory based. – Temple Grandin

People are getting too far away from the real-world. Politics is just ridiculous, it’s totally dysfunctional. – Temple Grandin

I want to make sure to fix these obvious things – like keeping the box CLEAN! Another thing that might affect this is if you put the litter box in a laundry room where people are walking by there all the time, the cat might feel kinda too exposed. When you gotta poop, you know, it takes a little longer. You want a little more privacy. – Temple Grandin

One of the big areas I’d like to see a lot more research done on is the sensory problems, and it’s real variable. One kid’s got sound sensitivity; another one can’t tolerate fluorescent lights. I can’t stand scratchy clothes. – Temple Grandin

Autism’s a very big spectrum. At one end of the spectrum, Einstein would probably be labeled autistic, Steve Jobs, half of Silicon Valley, you know, Van Gogh. And at the other end of the spectrum, you got much more severe handicaps where they never learn to speak. – Temple Grandin

One of the places where research is needed is all the sensory problems. And you get sensory problems not just with autism, but with dyslexia, learning problems, ADHD, attention deficit, you know, things like sound sensitivity, problems with fluorescent lighting. – Temple Grandin

When I was younger, I didn’t even realize the way I think visually is different. – Temple Grandin

Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.