Excerpt: 'Animals in Translation'

Visual thinkers of any species, animal or human, are detail-oriented. They see everything and they react to everything. We don't know why this is true, we just know from experience that it is. I've had interior designers tell me, "I see everything." The worst thing that can happen to an interior designer is to work with a sloppy contractor. The designer will see every little flaw in the contractor's work. Tiny mistakes no one else even notices, like grout that's slightly uneven, will jump out at visual people. They go crazy. Visual people feel horrible when little details in their visual environments are wrong, the same way animals do.

I think this is probably the hardest part of an animal's existence for normal people to relate to. Verbal people can't just turn themselves into visual people because they want to, and vice versa.


I hope this book will help regular people be a little less verbal and a little more visual. I've spent thirty years as an animal scientist, and I've spent my whole life as an autistic person. I hope what I've learned will help people start over again with animals (and maybe with autistic people, too), and begin to think about them in a different way.

I hope what I've learned will help people see.

Excerpted by permission from "Animals in Translation: Using the Mysteries of Autism to Decode Animnal Behavior," by Temple Grandin, Ph.D. and Catherine Johnson, Ph.D., copyright 2005, Simon & Schuster.

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