Occupation: Professor of animal science, author and speaker
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As a child Grandin was diagnosed with autism, and her parents were told she should be institutionalized. But Grandin, who once described her condition as making her "like an animal with no instincts to guide me," used that perspective to become one of the world's most respected advocates for the humane treatment of livestock. She also earned her Ph.D. and became an author, writing books about animals (Animals in Translation, Animals Make Us Human) and about autism. She lectures and consults around the country, and her life is a symbol of how much an autistic person can achieve.