On Temple Grandin

Controversial topics are always so fun. Temple Grandin is a controversial person in the autistic community. This is a miniature rant on why, for the millionth time1, I am not entirely supportive of her.

Like every other post on 6birds, this post is that of my opinion, and I’m totally aware of whatever consequences may come of this.

[Insert something about Temple Grandin here.]

I’m not really a fan of her.


I know, right? I disagree with her on many, many things. I despise how she is idolized, as it leads to a lot of misunderstandings. A lot of people take what she says and run with it, believing it to be true no matter what, and I think it’s very possible a lot of it has gone to her head.

I mean, Aspies sort of have a tendency to have this I’m-better-than-you persona going on, and whilst I believe there’s a fine line between having confidence and really thinking you’re better than everyone, I feel like she is definitely a member of the I’m-better-than-you thinking squad.

She believes all low-functioning Aspies should be cured, as if the high-functioning, like herself, are superior to the world — and she has gone on to explain how neurotypicals wouldn’t get anything done without Aspies, leading me to believe she thinks very low of them as well. In interviews, when asked about her feelings about Aspies, she’s always including “Aspies on the high end of the spectrum”, “high-functioning Aspies”, etc. It’s insulting, and meh, low-functioning vs. high-functioning is a controversial topic within itself.

Long story short: Low-functioning means you probably need recalling. High-functioning means you seem rather normal and don’t need recalling, because you can actually function in society with everyone else!


(Terms were coined by ignorant neurotypicals, of course, probably by the same ones who believe we need to be cured.)

The whole thing on the cure… Whether I’m low-functioning or high-functioning I have no knowledge of, but I believe that, if such a cure came to, then it should be optional, and parents shouldn’t be able to make that choice. A lot of people see Aspies and those in the autistic community as people who need to be “fixed”, and it’s really hurtful.

You can read a post regarding the criticism of her on Autistic Hoya, a blog I quite enjoy, as I agree with many of the things explained in the post.

TL;DR: Temple Grandin is to Aspies as GoDaddy is to domain registrars.

Whilst there are some things she has done I do agree with, those things are very limited.

For some reason, whenever a fellow Aspie disagrees and/or disproves of anything done by Grandin, it’s apparently the worst thing in the world, I have noticed.

(Hint: I have no respect/tolerance for GoDaddy and their practices.)

…it may also be worth mentioning Autism Speaks slowly lost my respect as well during Summer 2014.

  1. In my head. I’ve never voiced/written/etc. my despise for her before.

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Comments on this post

Stephanie’s gravatar

My personal guess is that you’re somewhere in between high and low functioning. I’m sure that there’s a middle ground between “can figure everything out and don’t need help” and “struggle in all social situations”. From what I know of you, you disagree with others on what behaviors should be appropriate and how people should behave, but can behave “properly” when needed, even if you don’t want to. Plus, I’m willing to bet that the other mental illness that you’ve come across make you more low-functioning than Aspergers alone.

I actually haven’t heard of Temple Grandin before. But reading her biography, it looks like she’s a low-functioning Aspie who was “cured”, and not actually a high-functioning Aspie. To my understanding, a high-functioning Aspie is someone like Richard Feynman who would probably never really get diagnosed with autism in the first place, but exhibit symptoms of it here and there.

Liz’s gravatar

I agree with possibly being between the two. I also think the depression, the PTSD and the fact that I wasn’t taught how to be independent are major contributing factors in the low-functioning.

Yeah. 😐 In the Aspie community, people either worship her or question whether she is an actual Aspie, or has autism at all, and it creates a big divide, especially since Aspies aren’t really open to finding truths in other’s opinions. It’s really annoying when arguments happen, and I usually wind up backing out, because it’s so… well, you just see the obsession in the people who worship her. It’s frustrating. It’s a lot like democrats and republicans debating: it’s never really over.

Sara’s gravatar

I love that speak your mind and aren’t afraid to take on people you disagree with it. This wasn’t a mean post by any means. You simply asserted yourself and said what you believe about Aspies and Temple Grandin’s commentaries.

I definitely agree with you about the “Cure” and choice being important. Personally, there’s needs to be more education about Aspies because a lot of people don’t understand how an Aspie thinks.

I had a Aspie friend who used to blog. He doesn’t anymore, but he taught me a lot about Asperger Syndrome. It was something I didn’t know about. I wish he was still blogging because he was a good voice to educate people. He would have loved this post.

Liz’s gravatar

I’ve been debating about whether to blog about my life as an Aspie even further, because I feel like it could give some insight into an Aspie’s life, but I haven’t yet because of the number of potential trolls. Last time I did, I was a member of an Aspie forum that, to this day, is filled with a lot of critics and people who I think aren’t really Aspies at all.

I’ve been considering it more so lately, because I’ve finally accepted it and am at a place where I can talk freely about it without feeling ashamed because I have it, but the fear that others won’t understand is rather high on my mind. 🙁

Projects, projects… I wasn’t going to start anymore blogs, but I feel like I have one grand idea for an Aspie blog that could help non-Aspies and Aspies together, because it could give insight into an Aspie’s mind on a number of topics. There aren’t many blogs that actually discuss and promote acceptance, but there are many blogs that teach a need for a cure. It’s sort of insulting. 😡

Aw. 🙁 It’s too bad he doesn’t blog anymore. I could have had another autistic blog to read! :3

Cori’s gravatar

I’ve never paid much attention to Temple Grandin, I was always a bit put off by her way of speaking about Asperger’s and ASD. She has a tendency to say, “This is how it is,” rather than, “This is how it is, for me.” To suggest there is only one presentation of symptoms in a spectrum disorder is silly.

I’m also not a big fan of Autism Speaks. I just don’t trust an organization called “Autism Speaks” when none of the people speaking have autism.

Liz’s gravatar

I also am not in favor of TheAutismSite.com, who seems to be working with Autism Speaks. They’re very much the same way. 😐 Both remind me of the books and research by non-Aspies and how biased is. When you read actual things by Aspies, you see a much bigger picture into our minds, because we live it. For some reason, these non-ASD folk studying autism don’t understand that. o.-

I think that may be why I dislike Temple Grandin — I understand that Aspies generalize a lot, but she as if she is speaking for all Aspies. It annoys me that she’s famous, because people who aren’t as educated on Asperger’s or ASD at all tend to find her and base their knowledge on what she says.