Women’s History Month: Temple Grandin

Here’s another fantastic Women’s History Month guest post from Hope M. Cueva (@HopeTheHBIC on Twitter). Truly inspirational. Thank you so much to Hope for sharing her and her daughter’s experience with us. Please share this great story with your followers.


I could start this off talking about my own Mother which probably to a lot of women would think that is the Woman of all Women. Well that is pretty obvious to my heart for many reasons. So in choosing a woman who has touched my life as well I couldn’t only think of one that has helped my Daughter directly.

So for you Mom, I dedicate this to you. I know you would want this for your Granddaughter.


Hug Machine

The woman I look at is Temple Grandin. She was born on August 29th of 1947. She is a American doctor of Animal Science and also a professor at Colorado State University. Her credentials also include a bestselling author and a consultant to the livestock industry on animal behavior.

Grandin has high-functioning Autism. She is known for being a huge advocate for Autism and is the inventor of the hug machine which is designed to calm hypersensitive persons.  A hug machine is known a squeeze machine. It’s a deep pressure device that calms hyper sensitive persons and usually helps people with Autism Spectrum disorders. It’s extremely therapeutic.

The squeeze box is where a user lies, or squats between the side boards, for as long or short of a period as desired. It uses pressure exerted by a air compressor and is controlled by the user, the side boards apply deep pressure evenly across the lateral parts of the body

Ms. Grandin was born in Boston and she was diagnosed with Autism in 1950 and diagnosed with brain damage at the age of two. Finally at the age of 4 Ms. Grandin spoke her first words. She was considered the nerdy kid. She would be called a tape recorder due to her repetition of the same words over and over again. It was hard and painful for her back then.

She spoke in public for the first time in the mid 1980s for Ruth Sullivan, one of the founders of the Autism Society of America. Grandin also been on many media shows and in 2009, Grandin was featured in a three hour interview on C-SPAN called, “In Depth with Temple Grandin.”

In 2010 Temple Grandin starring Claire Danes as Grandin was a focus in a biographical movie on HBO. On August 29, 2010, Grandin was nominated for 15 Emmy’s on the 62nd Primetime Emmy Awards. Grandin joined Claire Danes when the award was won. She spoke for a brief moment to audience when the award was won. It was Grandin’s birthday that day..

Grandin is really a huge advocate on early intervention for Autism and supportive teachers who can direct on sensory issues and hypersentivity to noise.

On the personal life of Grandin she earned various degrees. The degrees she achieved are a B.A. In Psychology from Franklin Pierce University, Master of Science in Animal Science from Arizona State University, Ph. D in Animal Science from the University of Illinois. In 2010, Grandin received a honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters from Duke University.

Grandin has not married or had any children. Grandin feels that other people have that in their emotional life and that is not her. She has no interested in entertainment about emotions or relationships. Her interests are mostly Science Fiction and horse riding.

Autism has effected every part of her life. She has a sensory overload which requires for her to wear particular clothing. Grandin also takes medication. However, she does not use the hug machine that she invented to relieve stress.  The squeeze box broke two years and she has not gotten around to fixing it. Grandin is now into hugging people.

Grandin says, “If I could snap my fingers and become non autistic I would not do so. Autism is part of who I am.”

Grandin was also chosen to be a hero for Time’s 2010 heroes. I surely do agree with that.

The reason for me choosing Temple Grandin is because my Daughter that is now 9 is Autistic.

Kaitlyn was diagnosed at the age of 3 with Autism. I never knew what Autism meant. I couldn’t understand why my daughter was not speaking to me or reaching out to me.

Temple Grandin’s book was the first book I read about Autism. I found that Kaitlyn needed deep pressure to calm down. Hugging her tight and using heavy items to calm her down. Temple Grandin has touched my life to better understand what goes on in my Daughter’s mind.

Kaitlyn now is at a Kindergarten level and speaking up a storm. She has a huge sensory overload, stemming, repetitive and has many challenges to even count. We as a family have gone through many challenges due to Autism. Going out in a public places, getting thrown out of places and seeing that life will not be the same but it is for the good.

However, Kaitlyn is my daughter and she has changed my life for the better. She has taught me patience and accepting a person for even more for who they are.

So Temple Grandin has through the 6 years has touched my life more than anything else about Autism and to know that Kaitlyn is unique and she will always be.

I wouldn’t change Kaitlyn having Autism. It’s a label. It doesn’t define who she is.  Which is my Daughter.

Thank you Ms. Grandin for showing us that life can be great with Autism and I wouldn’t change a thing.


Hope M. Cueva



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