COE hosts animal behavior and autism expert Temple Grandin March 2

College of Education associate professor Claire Hamilton will host a presentation by Temple Grandin, an advocate for people with autism and a world renowned animal behaviorist and expert on their humane treatment, on Tuesday, March 2, from 9:30-10:30 a.m., at 137 Isenberg School of Management.

Grandin, is one of the most accomplished and well-known adults with autism in the world. She has been featured on National Public Radio, major television programs such as the BBC special "The Woman Who Thinks Like a Cow," ABC's Primetime Live, The Today Show, Larry King Live, 48 Hours and 20/20. She has been written about in national publications such as Time magazine, People magazine, Forbes, U.S. News and World Report, and New York Times.

The subject of a recent HBO movie, Grandin has said that her autism gives her a special understanding of animals and has helped her to become a leader in the ethical treatment of all animals, in particular farm animals and cattle held in commercial stockyards and at slaughterhouses. She is well-known for designing low-stress facilities for livestock being held in such areas. Through observing how cattle can be calmed when held in a press, she created a similarly-designed hugging machine that helps her to relax.

“I thought that the perspective that Temple gives on being autistic in the world and how she relates it to her everyday life would be interesting to College of Education students. So I contacted Dr. Hamilton,” said Carrie Chickering-Sears, UMass Amherst Extension educator, who scheduled the Grandin events at UMass Amherst.

Hamilton has used the BBC documentary about and NPR interviews with Grandin in a child development class for a number of years. “They provide a way for students to better understand how individuals with autism might experience the world,” Hamilton said. “My goal for students in this General Education course is that they not only understand Autism Spectrum Disorder in terms of how it is defined or diagnosed, but also in terms of the impact it has on children with ASD and their families.”

The COE presentation and other events featuring Grandin at UMass Amherst are sponsored by the Center for Agriculture as part of a USDA Northeast Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education grant-funded collaborative project of the University of Connecticut, University of Rhode Island and UMass Amherst. While in Amherst, Grandin will also speak to a Veterinary and Animal Sciences class, sign copies of her book at the University Store, and tour the UMass Amherst Hadley Farm..

Grandin was born in Boston in 1950. She earned a bachelor’s degree in psychology from Franklin Pierce College, a master’s in animal science from Arizona State University, and a Ph.D. in animal science from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. She is on the faculty at Colorado State University. She has published over 400 articles within the field of Animal Sciences. Her current bestselling book on autism is “The Way I See It: A Personal Look at Autism and Asperger's.” She also authored “Unwritten Rules of Social Relationships,” “Animals Make us Human,” “Animals in Translation,” “Thinking in Pictures,” and “Emergence: Labeled Autistic.”

For more information about these events, contact Chickering-Sears at
or at 413-549-3257.