The Girl Who Thought in Pictures: The Story of Temple Grandin


If you’ve ever felt different, if you’ve ever been low, if you don’t quite fit in, there’s a name you should know. Meet Dr. Temple Grandin. When young Temple was diagnosed with autism, no one expected her to talk, let alone become one of the most powerful voices in modern science. Yet the determined visual thinker did just that. Her unique mind allowed her to connect with animals in a special way, helping her invent groundbreaking improvements for farms around the globe.

Discussion questions from SOMN

  • How is young Temple like the other kids her age, and how is she different? How are the differences interpreted by different people in the story, i.e., doctors, teachers, her mother, kids at school, the animals on the ranch? Which thoughts and opinions are helpful and which ones are harmful?
  • Temple was kicked out of school and sent to visit her aunt on a ranch. How did this time away impact the rest of Temple’s life?
  • Temple had to deal with prejudice not only about autism, but also about her gender. How did she approach these obstacles?
  • What are some character traits that describe Temple? Use this list as a starting point and add in other ideas.
  • In a note to readers at the end of the book, Temple encourages everyone to find something they are good at and work on it. What are you good at?
  • Did you make any personal connections with Temple’s story? Have you ever experienced anything like what she experienced or felt how she describes feeling in the book?

Classroom activities from SOMN

  • Many autistic people throughout history have used their unique and individual perspectives to impact the world through art, inventions, scientific breakthrough, and more. Break into small groups and research one autistic person’s life and accomplishments, then have each group share what they learned with the class.
  • Watch this short video featuring Dr. Grandin on sensory processing and have a class discussion.