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A Reflection on Temple Grandin’s Ted Talk

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Growing up with social media and news outlets, I have been exposed to believe that autism is a disorder that makes interaction and communication more challenging. I have been told that it is disrespectful to say someone has autism rather than they are autistic. This is because you do not know their capacity for awareness and intelligence. From my knowledge, I believe autism is a spectrum disorder because people can be affected by different levels and types of it.

In the TED Talk, Temple Grandin talked about her experiences growing up with autism. She mentioned how people with autism are diverse and valuable to society. She noted that many great scientists would probably be diagnosed by today’s definition of autism and explained how the autistic brain catches every minute detail just as quickly as the big idea. This sort of pictorial thinking allowed Grandin to “test-run” designs for her work in her mind before they became real. She explained that “people in the spectrum actually think with their primary visual cortex,” and that autism sometimes trades social abilities for a unique and profound way of thinking.

I found her information very interesting because the human race must have thought in image before there was language. Without words, what were people thinking? Personally, I feel like I am a very verbal learner and would like to be able to think in images too. I realize that everyone is designed to learn and think in a different way. This diversity in learning is just another attribute that makes each person unique. ‘Thinking in pictures,’ as Temple Grandin called it, is an asset that may be overlooked by some. From her description, she can solve problems and work through things in her head, which is a skill, instead of having to answer them on paper or in a different way. To think in images instead of in words would be something extremely beneficial to people working in artistic or engineering fields of work. I feel like it would help spark creativity and make their ideas come to life a lot easier than someone who could not picture it.

Interestingly, this skill does not seem to be something you can learn, it is something born with, and Grandin was born with the ability to see in images. She talks about how, at a young age, she believed everyone thought this way and that this was normal for everyone. Once she realized it was not, Grandin started to pick up on all the different ways people could learn and think. There are visual thinkers, pattern thinkers, verbal thinkers, etc. The fact that people are all very different brings proves important point that the mind is very complex, intricate, and diverse for each individual too, therefore learning should be individualized as well.

Animals must think in images and patterns because they do not have a spoken language. For example, a dog is not thinking about what the meaning of what you said is; they are only thinking about an image of their next food or treat. I feel like this must be how humans thought before there was language. Without words to express thoughts or feelings, images, and emotions must have been the only thing that popped into people’s minds. I think having the ability to manipulate something through images in your brain would be a skill and certainly an asset. The brain functioning in imagery is important and it would be so beneficial if it could be taught. 

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A Reflection On Temple Grandin’s Ted Talk. (2021, Jun 09). GradesFixer. Retrieved October 19, 2021, from
“A Reflection On Temple Grandin’s Ted Talk.” GradesFixer, 09 Jun. 2021,
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