The movie, Temple Grandin, looks at the life of the activist Temple Grandin. When Grandin was a child, she was lacked communication skills and often threw tantrums. At the time, when she was diagnosed with Autism, the health field combined this disorder in with schizophrenia. The health field said that Autism was a result of not enough affection from the mother or mother-like figure. In contrast to the health field’s conclusion that Autism was the result of a lack of maternal affection, Grandin’s mother did not take this diagnosis lying down. She opposed the reasoning behind her daughter having Autism, and to send her daughter to an institution, and chose to hire therapists to work with Grandin. These therapists helped Grandin develop social interactions according to her age and for the future.
The movie progressed to cover her life as a teenager, where she worked on her Aunt and Uncle’s farm. At the farm, she figured out a way to calm herself during anxiety attacks via the squeeze chute. She was then inspired by her teacher, Dr. Carlock, to go into science during her college career. She develops her own squeeze machine to calm her while she was at school, but it was confiscated because they thought it was a sexual device. Her response was to develop a scientific protocol to prove the usage of the machine for therapeutic reasons, she graduated, and went on to get a Master’s degree in Animal Science.
Through her struggles of sexism trying to getting into cattle ranching by developing a way to move cattle by themselves and not by force. The film also touched on Grandin and her mother attending an autism convention. At this convention, she spoke on how her mother helped her rise to success in addition to her adaptations that got her to where she is. This catapulted her career into autism advocacy.
The psychological disorders mentioned in the film were Autism and Schizophrenia. The disorders were not accurately portrayed in the film. For one, the movie inaccurately represented that Schizophrenia and Autism were one in the same. Schizophrenia and Autism are two separate psychological disorders. Furthermore, the film inaccurately portrayed the overall disorder of Schizophrenia, including the cause of it. The film portrayed the cause of schizophrenia as a lack of motherly attentiveness. However, science has identified several factors that cause schizophrenia, such as genes, environmental factors, and brain changes. The therapies presented in the film were somewhat inaccurate in accordance to the therapies that are conducted today. However, for the time, the therapies were portrayed accurate for what was available regarding Autism.
Overall, I felt that the film touched on some important points in Grandin’s life that allowed the view to get an all encompassing view of what role Autism played in her life. Although there were some upsetting parts in the movie, it went to show that the reality of the situation was that there was unfair treatment doled upon her because of lack of understanding for her disorder, as well as, because of her gender. It was not easy to see someone create a way for themselves to cope with a disorder in a world that is not to kind towards those who are not deemed “normal” only to have society push back and say the way they were coping was not “correct”. In addition, it was a great success story to see how with the support of family, of someone with, or without a psychological disorder, can overcome mountains of any size. For Grandin, her mother did not take the doctors’ diagnosis as the final end all. She believed in her child and wanted to provide a better way for her to live her life without going through the displacement of going to an institution. It was also great to see that someone who was actually going through the cause, or detriment, become an advocate for that cause, or detriment. It was not just some scientist, or bystander, talking about what they think others are going through. Grandin’s advocacy has made waves for Autistic persons, and the field of Autism research, and I believe she will continue to do so.