Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Temple Grandin’s “Happy Aspies”

The NYRB carries a very sympathetic review of Temple Grandin’s latest book, The Autistic Brain. Towards the end, the article includes some quotes from the book in which Grandin argues that if “Aspies” receive appropriate support and opportunities to develop their specific strengths, they can make unique contributions to society (and perhaps receive proper recognition for these). As a prime example, she cites “all the undiagnosed Asperger’s cases in Silicon Valley” whom she calls “Happy Aspies.”

In principle, this seems like reasonable advocacy on behalf of a misunderstood and marginalized minority. I just wish its avant-garde did not have such a burning wish to remake society in their own image; and were not as handsomely rewarded for that effort with money and/or status  whatever “shareholder value” or veneer of scientific credibility they might create. To her credit, Grandin seems very cognizant of her own mental limitations, and has stuck to making the lives and deaths of cows less painful.