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Temple Grandin giving two talks in Carbondale

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Sopris Sun Staff Report

Best-selling author Temple Grandin, who in 2010 was named by Time magazine as one of the 100 most influential people in the world, will lead two separate public discussions on July 28 at the Third Street Center.

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Grandin, a professor at Colorado State University, is one of the nation’s top experts on humane livestock management. She is also a leading voice on improving the lives of people with autism spectrum disorders. She has developed important inventions and moved the thinking forward in both areas.

Grandin’s presentation on her leading-edge work in the area of livestock management is set for 5 p.m. and will be followed by a question and answer session.

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At 6:30 p.m., she will switch subjects and give a talk and take questions on autism spectrum disorders.

“We are thrilled to have Dr. Grandin, one of our state’s and the nation’s leading thinkers about improving the lives of people with autism,” said Sallie Bernard of the non-profit group Ascendigo, who helped organize the visit.

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Grandin will also be signing her two most recent books “Humane Livestock Handling” and “The Autism Brain.”

The public is invited to come to either or both talks. Tickets are $20 per event at ascendigo.org.

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HBO film

Grandin was the subject of a biographical film on HBO entitled “Temple Grandin.” Two of her books, Animals Make Us Human and Animals In Translation made The New York Times best seller list. She gave a TEDtalk in 2010, and has been interviewed and featured on a variety of network and cable news programs. 

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Grandin has long been an innovator when it comes to improving the autistic life. While attending college, she invented the hug machine to help people with autism calm themselves. She has written numerous books on autism and other mental health challenges, and tours the nation regularly to speak on the subject.

As a professor of animal science at Colorado State University, she is also internationally renown for her work with animals and humane designs for livestock handling facilities. In North America, almost half of all cattle are handled in a center track restrainer system that she designed for meat plants. Curved chute and race systems she designed for cattle are also used worldwide, and her writings on the flight zone and other principles of grazing animal behavior have helped many people to reduce stress on their animals during handling, according to her website, grandin.com.

Visiting non-profits

Grandin will spend the morning and afternoon visiting two Carbondale-area non-profits and advising on the work that’s under way or planned. 

First she will tour Sustainable Settings Ranch in the Crystal River Valley, review rancher Brook LeVan’s plans for a dairy barn and livestock handling corrals, and advise on the ranch’s practices with pigs, sheep and poultry. 

“While we pride ourselves on our organic and humane practices, we are always open for learning how to improve our operations,” says Le Van. “Having Temple Grandin here to review our facilities and give us guidance on our plans for the new dairy and cattle handling lanes and pens is an amazing opportunity.”

“Her insights into animal welfare are astute and cutting edge,” he continued. “We look forward to incorporating her input into all future livestock facilities.” 

Grandin will then visit the Ascendigo adult-enrichment program for people with autism, located in the Third Street Center, and the Ascendigo Adventures equestrian program in Carbondale. 

Grandin will also tour the Yellow House, an autism-friendly residence located one block off Main Street. It is a low sensory, low/non-toxic environment that is energy and water efficient and has many safety and security features to support the residents. 

The Yellow House was conceived and funded by Sallie Bernard, whose son has autism, and designed by Steve Novy at Green Line Architects, who is also designing the cow-friendly dairy barn planned for Sustainable Settings. 

Published in The Sopris Sun on July 23, 2015. 

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