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Temple Grandin's Animals in Translation

Dear friends,

This autistic women sees more empathetically; she genuinely cares for the animals in their difference as well as their sameness; this is something neurotypicals typically do not do.

Grandin's Pets in Translation heartily recommended.  It's the first book by Grandin I've tried which has made me understand why she's liked. Her profession is as an animal expert, a vet (in effect) who (Jim tells me) taught those people who slaughter animals how to do it in a way that doesn't alert the animal. Here she's not helping any one to kill with ease (I'm sure justified by her as making the animals last minutes less agonized), but rather to respect them as our equals in thought and feeling and life. It's genuinely informative. I recommend it to all those with pets.

And to all those who value Jane Goodall's work, Sy Montgomery's, Birute Gildikas, who honor Diane Fosse and wish everyone on the earth would watch Frederick Wiseman's Primates.

The book carefully studies animals' emotional lives and shows them to be very like ours. One difference is they don't feel several emotions at once, but ony a strong invasion of one. They feel (like us) rage, fear, anxiety, chase-competition; social attachment, a need for play and comfort; curiosity. They need interest in life, room (space), air, light.  When you look into their eyes and see feelings like yours, don't pretend to yourself these are not there.

Hitherto I read Grandin's books on Aspergers and have found the problem with them is she begins at step 4. She often gives advice to those in social situations like jobs or a place in an organization. She does not tell how to get to step 4. Her optimism is therefore to me grating as the advice she's giving can work only for the minority of autistic or Aspergers people who are maneuvred into such situations (often by the help of connections and/or money or location they were born or lucked into). There is a danger in positive writing publicity type propaganda about Aspergers. They are used to support cutting Aspergers people off the disability spectrum by people in power.  Alas, publicity books, negative or positive don't help Aspergers people.  If they get too visible, people want to cut them off; if they are negative, they just reinforce dislike.  The prejudice against disabled people and misunderstanding of them is as relentless (more so) than antifeminism and downright misogyny.

Here she is not telling you anything impossible nor is this a pop book. It's 358 pages and written in a clear but sober style.

And I do believe it's a woman's book although she is so careful to present herself as gender free :) -- the books one glaring flaw.

Sylvia

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