As a person with autism, Temple Grandin experiences daily struggles that include an extreme sensitivity to noise and environmental change. This, she says, gives her unique insight into the minds of cattle and other animals. That quality helped her revolutionize the entire livestock industry by designing more humane methods for handling and slaughter. For example, Grandin redesigned livestock-handling facilities from ones based on how people want cattle to move into ones that mimic the way cattle naturally want to move. She also invented the diagonal livestock pen, which keep cattle from bunching into corners the way they do in a square pen or congregating in the center as in a round pen.
But the livestock industry also made a difference in Grandin's own life. On her aunt's Arizona ranch, handlers used a "squeeze box" that applied gentle pressure to calm the animals. Grandin adapted this concept to create the Hug Box, a device that applies gentle pressure to calm and de-stress people, especially those with autism. She invented the groundbreaking device when she was only 18 years old. Today, Temple Grandin is a professor of animal science at Colorado State University and a vocal advocate for people with autism. Check out the videos below to learn more about her work.