Temple Grandin (Temple Grandin)

From Autistic characters wiki

This page is about the fictionalized version portrayed in the biographical movie Temple Grandin, not the real person.

Temple Grandin
Portrayed by Claire Danes[1]
Appears in Temple Grandin
Year 2010

Temple Grandin is the title character in the biographical drama movie Temple Grandin.

Character creation

The movie is based on the real-life autistic activist and animal welfare scholar Temple Grandin.

Dr. Nancy Minshew served as an autism consultant.[2]


Temple transfers to a boarding school after she was expelled for hitting a bully with a book. Though she is also teased at her new school, science teacher dr. Carlock inspires her to pursue science in college.

I've always wanted to understand the gentleness that other people feel by being hugged by their mothers. Now I've made a machine that lets me do that. It feels like a wire gets reconnected. Like something gets repaired.
— Temple

The summer of 1966, before she goes to college, she stays at the ranch of her aunt Ann. She sees how a squeeze chute calms down cattle and during a meltdown, uses it to calm herself down. At college she develops a hugging machine inspired by this, though it is thrown out when the college misinterprets her and thinks it's a sexual thing. She refuses to come back from spring break unless she can use her hugging machine. The administrators say it has no evidence, so Temple starts testing out the machine on her classmates to scientifically prove that it has a calming effect on people.

After obtain her bachelor's degree, she starts working on obtaining a master's of science in animal science. Being out in the animal husbandry world, she experiences sexism from male ranchers and cowboys on top of the judgement she gets for her atypical behaviors and ideas. After observing the inhumane and impractical treatment of cattle, she uses her keen eye for animal behavior and mechanical reasoning to develop better systems to guide and transport the cows. She publishes her master's thesis and multiple other articles, and starts making a name for herself. A rancher asks her to design a better way to dip cattle, and though it works immensely well, the ranch hands dismiss it and do it their own way, causing multiple cows to drown.

She goes to visit dr. Carlock again to rant about the inhumane way cattle is treated, and he encourages her to take action to change that. Dr. Carlock dies soon after, but Temple manages to present her new designs to a slaughterhouse (with a little bit of help from an accidental encounter with a woman who also has an autistic son).

Temple and her mom attend the national autistic convention in 1981. The expert speaker does not really know what he is talking about, and Temple steps up talk about her own experiences and how her mom has helped. The parents want to know more and invite her to speak on the podium instead.


Temple was diagnosed with autism at age 4 in 1951. The doctor suggests it is due to lack of bonding with her mother and recommends be institutionalized, though her mother refuses this.

She has a near-photographic memory (in one instance being able to recite a page of a French book after only having read it for a few seconds). She's also a visual and literal thinker, and the movie often visualises the way she humorously interprets idioms (like thinking of someone marrying a cow after learning the term "animal husbandry"). She can also easily visualize the way mechanical contraptions work, which combined with her keen attention to animal behavior, allow her to efficiently design new machines to use on ranches and in slaughterhouses.

She has a lot of sensory sensitivities—loud noises are overwhelming, automatic sliding doors startle her, and she only eats jello and yogurt.


External links