The Agony Column

Temple Grandin Interview

Temple Grandin. Photo by Rick Kleffel.

Temple Grandin. Photo by Rick Kleffel.

“Well, I don’t want to get cured.”

—Temple Grandin

Beyond reading ‘The Autistic Brain,’ I knew that there was some sort of preparation I should do before I talked to author Temple Grandin. Watch the HBO movie, I was told. I could have gone to YouTube and looked her up. I decided to meet her first in person, and let the conversation play out as it would.

Temple Grandin is an imposing and intense presence, who immediately asked me if I liked the book, and why. I told her I enjoyed both the science and the scientist-who-loves “science-enough-to-experiment-on-herself aspect” and she wanted to know more. Readers can quickly see why she and I got on so well. Her inquisitive mind on the page carries over into her life, with a passion.

When we sat down to start talking everything mattered. We were in a studio that had the window to her back, which proved fortunate, since she told me once we were talking that she might otherwise have been distracted. I do believe her, but it seems unlikely. Grandin is so focused on and knowledgeable about her subject that is was not easy for me to keep up.

Interviews often take a certain pace. Some are leisurely walks, some are power walks, and sometimes you move at an easy jogging half-run. Frankly, Temple Grandin ran at a flat out sprint that required the sort of concentration those in the spectrum find natural. I’m in the spectrum, I would presume, though I would not go so far as to diagnose myself. Beyond lightly self-deluded, that is. It’s deliberate! I’d argue, thus proving the point.

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