Short Essay/Excerpt: Temple Grandin

by Jason Nguyen from Riverside, California in United States

A hero can be anyone. A hero doesn’t have to be based on a bunch of characteristics it really depends on you. Since I believed in that, I never really had someone that would fit the conventional definition of a "hero". Though if I was able to pick one, it would be an author named Temple Grandin. You see, Temple was an autistic child, who was diagnosed with autism when she was four and was labeled with brain damage.

Temple did not talk until she was 3 years old and had a speech delay. Unfortunately, when she was at nursery school and onward, her classmates bullied her due to her saying repetitive words over and over again. Her parents would often try to help her become better and hired a nanny. However, it seemed at first she was a lost cause. Though fortunately, later on, she excelled in education with great success. She had gotten a bachelor's degree in psychology when she was 23 and later on got a doctoral degree in animal behavior when she was 42.

150469Temple Grandin - TED TalkWiki Commons

She writes many books about autism and animal behavior. Her books are actually interesting, at least for adults. Even though this sounds like ordinary life, she is a hero to me in many ways. She is an inspiration to me because even though she was told that she wouldn’t succeed in life, and had unimaginable problems in her life, Temple never really gave up as she managed to become a successful author, autism activist, and professor. Temple is also willing to help others who are going through the same problem as her also achieve many great things. She even invented the squeeze box for Special Eds to channel their anger elsewhere.

In addition, I could relate to her a little bit because I have had a bit of autism myself. Temple fits into my definition because you don’t need to be strong or fight or even be smart to be a hero, you just need the right heart and your own way to help, even if it is just yourself. Think about the unfortunate people out there with conditions like cancer. They fight to be healthy again to have a normal life and to make their parents happy. That is a hero nobody expects today. A hero strides hard no matter what hardship they face, much like Temple, or even maybe a fictional character.

Page created on 1/11/2023 8:39:37 AM

Last edited 1/19/2023 5:14:01 PM

The beliefs, viewpoints and opinions expressed in this hero submission on the website are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the beliefs, viewpoints and opinions of The MY HERO Project and its staff.


Nguyen, Jason. The Definition of a Hero. [Online] Available


Author Info

Jason Nguyen is a third-year college student who currently resides in Riverside, California. Discovering a passion for writing and encouragement from many teachers starting from way back in Elementary, Nguyen waders about wherever and whenever he can aspiring to capture a kind of wonder, realistic, and most of all uncommon (at least in Nguyen's point of view) part of life that can give readers clarity on. 

This short essay is an extrapolation of a bigger theme of heroism growth from a place that people may have looked over and not fully appreciate. Because that's some of writing's greatest aspects, to shine light and acknowledgment in places that would otherwise be overlooked.