Learnings from the Movie ‘Temple Grandin’
My academic background has focused on accounting and finance. After joining this course when our class received an assignment of reviewing a movie from and EI perspective, it was by far the most creative and interesting challenge that I have ever come across.
TEMPLE GRANDIN (Claire Danes), a young autistic woman, is extraordinarily gifted. She has a remarkable connection to animals and a brilliant mind. This biopic follows Temple from her late teens — as she struggles with both her own limitations and some narrow-mindedness in the communities around her — to her startling first accomplishments. With the help of a supportive family [Julia Ormond (mother) and Catherine O’Hara (Aunt)] and one progressive teacher (David Straitharn), Temple tackles misconceptions about her condition, the sexism of mid-20th century America, and the rigid, insensitive methods of the cattle industry.
In Emotional Intelligence, Social skills refer to the skills required to handle and influence other people’s emotions. The factors that form a part of social skills with regards to this movie are as follows:
1. Developing others
– With respect to helping Temple develop, her aunt and her professor from school (Prof. Carlock) actually understood her situation and accepted her for who she was. She was treated like a normal person. They helped her understand her potential. Prof. Carlock always reminded her that ‘every door leads to a new world’. This was stuck in her memory and it kept her going.
– Temple helped many by making people aware about her condition during the ‘National Autism Convention’ where she told everyone present there that she was “Different, not less”.
2. Inspirational Leadership
– The one person who was her inspiration was her Professor from school – Professor Carlock. He helped her understand her potential and she always confided in him. We could see how determined she was to take a stand against the inhumane treatment of cows. The movie also showed us how affected she was when Prof. Carlock passed away and because of this, she gave her mother a hug.
– Prof. Carlock has had a major influence and impact on Temple. He helped her through her years in school and helped her explore new possibilities. It is because of him that she decided to study Animal Husbandry.
– Unfortunately for Temple, communication was not her strongest point because of her Autism. She took her own time and space to connect with people. She hated to be present at a social gathering for the fear of being misunderstood.
5. Change Catalyst
– The change catalyst in her life was again her professor Mr. Carlock. He helped her by teaching things to her in a different way. Her Visual memory was very strong. So he taught her concepts with the help of pictures.
– Another change catalyst is the ‘Squeeze Machine’. Her connect to the cows in her aunt’s farm was so strong that when Temple had an anxiety attack, she would find comfort in the machine. She was so attached to it that she made a ‘Squeeze Machine’ that helped her. Not many understood her needs, but her blind room-mate accepted this weird request without any kind of hesitation or judgement.
– Temple was so frustrated by the way cows were being treated at the ranch that she came up with a concept called the “Dip Structure”. She believed that “Nature is cruel, but we don’t have to be…” This was another major change catalyst.
6. Conflict Management
– Things were not easy for Temple as she entered the real world. The “Squeeze Machine” was not something that was accepted in the beginning. When they refused to let her keep it, instead of throwing a fit, she started working on a research paper for the same. She let people experience the machine so she could get their inputs. Majority of the girls felt comfort in the machine. The research paper was then submitted and she finally had the permission to keep it in her room.
7. Building Bonds
– Bonding with people was a huge deal for temple since she hated social gatherings and interacting with people in general. She developed a special connection with her room-mate Alice when she understood Temple completely. The scene where Temple allows Alice to hold her arm was very special.
– During the funeral of Prof. Carlock, before she decides to leave, she gives her mother a hug. For a person who does not like to be touched, this was a very special moment for Eustacia.
8. Team Work:
– Teamwork is seen when the girls in her college are actually willing to try the Squeeze Machine. Even after she was accused of using the machine for her sexual pleasures.
OTHER AREAS OF EMOTIONAL INTELLIGENCE:
– From the movie, it is seen that Temple’s mother, Eustacia had a tough time dealing with Temple’s autism. But she was so strong. She refused to institutionalize her daughter because she believed that her daughter was a genius. Regardless of how her daughter was differently abled, she treated Temple like a normal child by providing her education. She refused to give up on her and stood by her during difficult times.
– Professor Carlock also had the same beliefs as Eustacia. He also treated Temple like a normal child. Since he realised that Temple had a photogenic memory, he taught her subjects differently and stood by her when the school staff made fun of her.
Self-Awareness and Empathy:
– When you’re self-aware, you become empathetic. Similarly, Prof. Carlock was empathetic towards Temple and Eustacia. He believed that Temple was a genius and did not want to give up on a gifted child.
– Similarly, Aunt Ann realised how much trouble Eustacia has to go through. She took care of Temple during the summer and gave her time to settle in. This shows how self-aware and empathetic Aunt Ann is.
1. Being self-aware of your emotions is so important when you have to take care of someone who has autism or any kind of disorder.
2. The spirit of ‘never giving up’ on someone you love is extremely necessary. It gives them assurance that they aren’t alone.
3. During the time of a crisis, being able to manage your feelings and emotions is the solution to any problem.
4. Empathy plays a very important role. It helps the other person gain perspective and can help accordingly.
Sanjana Iyer is a music enthusiast who aims to be a counselor one day. Her family is her anchor. She describes herself as a ‘movie buff’ and wishes to have a CD collection of all her favorite movies. The quote she lives by is – “If you never try, you’ll never know.” | Batch 2018-2020