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Animals in Translation : Using the Mysteries of Autism to Decode Animal Behavior

by
Edition:
Reprint
ISBN13:

9780156031448

ISBN10:
0156031442
Format:
Paperback
Pub. Date:
1/2/2006
Publisher(s):
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt

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This is the Reprint edition with a publication date of 1/2/2006.
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Summary

"I don't know if people will ever be able to talk to animals the way Doctor Doolittle could, or whether animals will be able to talk back. Maybe science will have something to say about that. But I do know people can learn to 'talk' to animals, and to hear what animals have to say, better than they do now." --From "Animals in Translation" Why would a cow lick a tractor? Why are collies getting dumber? Why do dolphins sometimes kill for fun? How can a parrot learn to spell? How did wolves teach man to evolve? Temple Grandin draws upon a long, distinguished career as an animal scientist and her own experiences with autism to deliver an extraordinary message about how animals act, think, and feel. She has a perspective like that of no other expert in the field, which allows her to offer unparalleled observations and groundbreaking ideas. People with autism can often think the way animals think, putting them in the perfect position to translate "animal talk." Grandin is a faithful guide into their world, exploring animal pain, fear, aggression, love, friendship, communication, learning, and, yes, even animal genius. The sweep of Animals in Translation is immense and will forever change the way we think about animals. *includes a Behavior and Training Troubleshooting Guide Among its provocative ideas, the book: argues that language is not a requirement for consciousness--and that animals do have consciousness applies the autism theory of "hyper-specificity" to animals, showing that animals and autistic people are so sensitive to detail that they "can't see the forest for the trees"--a talent as well as a "deficit" explores the "interpreter" in the normal human brain thatfilters out detail, leaving people blind to much of the reality that surrounds them--a reality animals and autistic people see, sometimes all too clearlyexplains how animals have "superhuman" skills: animals have animal geniuscompares animals to autistic savants, declaring that animals may in fact be autistic savants, with special forms of genius that normal people do not possess and sometimes cannot even see examines how humans and animals use their emotions to think, to decide, and even to predict the future reveals the remarkable abilities of handicapped people and animals maintains that the single worst thing you can do to an animal is to make it feel afraid.

Author Biography

TEMPLE GRANDIN earned her Ph.D. in animal science from the University of Illinois, went on to become an associate professor at Colorado State University, and wrote two books on autism, including the seminal Thinking in Pictures. She lives in Fort Collins, Colorado.

CATHERINE JOHNSON, Ph.D., is a writer specializing in neuropsychiatry and the brain and is the author of three previous books. She lives in New York.

Table of Contents

My Story
How Animals Perceive the World
Animal Feelings
Animal Aggression
Pain and Suffering
How Animals Thinks
Animal Genius: Extreme Talents
Behavior and Training Troubleshooting Guide
Notes
Selected Biography
Acknowledgments
Index
Table of Contents provided by Publisher. All Rights Reserved.

Excerpts

People who arent autistic always ask me about the moment I realized I could understand the way animals think. They think I must have had an epiphany.But it wasnt like that. It took me a long time to figure out that I see things about animals other people dont. And it wasnt until I was in my forties that I finally realized I had one big advantage over the feedlot owners who were hiring me to manage their animals: being autistic. Autism made school and social life hard, but it made animals easy.I had no idea I had a special connection to animals when I was little. I liked animals, but I had enough problems just trying to figure out things like why a really small dog isnt a cat. That was a big crisis in my life. All the dogs I knew were pretty big, and I used to sort them by size. Then the neighbors bought a dachshund, and I was totally confused. I kept saying, How can it be a dog? I studied and studied that dachshund, trying to figure it out. Finally I realized that the dachshund had the same kind of nose my golden retriever did, and I got it. Dogs have dog noses.That was pretty much the extent of my expertise when I was five. I started to fall in love with animals in high school when my mother sent me to a special boarding school for gifted children with emotional problems. Back then they called everything emotional problems. Mother had to find a place for me because I got kicked out of high school for fighting. I got in fights because kids teased me. Theyd call me names, like Retard, or Tape recorder. They called me Tape Recorder because Id stored up a lot of phrases in my memory and I used them over and over again in every conversation. Plus there were only a few conversations I liked to have, so that amplified the effect. I especially liked to talk about the rotor ride at the carnival. I would go up to somebody and say, I went to Nantasket Park and I went on the rotor and I really liked the way it pushed me up against the wall. Then I would say stuff like, How did you like it? and theyd say how they liked it, and then Id tell the story all over again, start to finish. It was like a loop inside my head, it just ran over and over again. So the kids called me Tape Recorder.Teasing hurts. The kids would tease me, so Id get mad and smack em. That simple. They always started it, they liked to see me react. My new school solved that problem. The school had a stable and horses for the kids to ride, and the teachers took away horseback riding privileges if I smacked somebody. After I lost privileges enough times I learned just to cry when somebody did something bad to me. Id cry, and that would take away the aggression. I still cry when people are mean to me.Nothing ever happened to the kids who were teasing. The funny thing about the school was, the horses had emotional problems, too. They had emotional problems because in order to save money the headmaster was buying cheap horses. Theyd been marked down because they had gigantic behavior pro

Excerpted from Animals in Translation: Using the Mysteries of Autism to Decode Animal Behavior by Temple Grandin, Catherine Johnson
All rights reserved by the original copyright owners. Excerpts are provided for display purposes only and may not be reproduced, reprinted or distributed without the written permission of the publisher.


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