Nina's Reading Blog

Comments on books I am reading/listening to

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

Posted by nliakos on March 19, 2008

by Temple Grandin and Catherine Johnson (narrated by Shelly Frasier)

I first read this marvelous book in 2006 and just listened to the audiobook.  It is so  fascinating.  Temple Grandin, author of Emergence: Labeled Autistic; Thinking in Pictures: And Other Reports from My Life with Autism; and The Unwritten Rules of Social Relationships: Decoding Social Mysteries Through the Unique Perspectives of Autism here considers the way animals perceive the world and the way people with autism perceive the world, and finds them to be surprisingly similar.  She postulates that autistic people may occupy a middle ground between human perception and animal perception.

There are numerous fascinating examples about cattle and dogs as well as other animals.  Grandin matter-of-factly shows how autistic people, including herself, react in many ways in the same way animals do to stimuli in the environment.  For example, whereas people screen out irrelevant details from what they see, perceiving only the whole, animals (and autistic people) are unable to screen out anything and do not perceive “wholes”; in other words, we see the forest, and they see the trees.  More accurately, we see the tree, and they see each leaf and bit of bark.

Dog owners in particular will gain much knowledge about their pets from this book.  Grandin knows a lot about dogs and shares her knowledge here.  Reading it will improve the ability of dog owners to understand and communicate with their dogs.

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2 Responses to “Animals in Translation: Using the Mysteries of Autism to Decode Animal Behavior”

  1. I just stopped by your blog and thought I would say hello. I like your site design. Looking forward to reading more down the road.

    Robert Michel

  2. […] (Must read those too.) I am fascinated by his descriptions of life with autism, much as I was by Temple Grandin‘s and Daniel Tammet‘s. It’s like reading about how life is lived in an alien […]

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