Thinking in Pictures

The Penny W. Stamp Distinguished Speaker program invited Temple Grandin to Ann Arbor last Thursday, September 9, 2010. Dr. Grandin has become world famous for her work with cows-cattle retaining systems. She is the first autistic woman to give a voice “from the inside.” The presentation has sponsored by the Art School, and was nominally focused on thinking in pictures. I could see the young art students looking puzzled-wondering why they had to go to a lecture and look at cows.

Temple spoke very clearly on how she, as a high functioning Asperger, or “Aspie,” perceives the world as a series of images that she stores, like icons, in categories.

I have always been fascinated by how my mind works. I see pictures in sequence, numbers in color and music in three dimensions. However, I cannot remember the names in a Periodic table or the words in a simple prayer unless I sing it. Autism is a spectrum disorder and Temple’s work lets us know more about ourselves, as well as her.

Here is a link to her website: