Temple Grandin’s squeeze machine calls for a reconsideration of autistic personhood. In Emergence: Labeled Autistic and Thinking in Pictures: and Other Reports from My Life with Autism, Grandin explores the sensory relief provided by the squeeze machine, as well as its function as a prosthetic extension of the self. Though the squeeze machine may be read as a prosthetic antidote for the autist’s supposed lack in feeling, Grandin’s machine expresses a form of autistic sensory difference that moves us beyond the deficit model of autism. While the squeeze machine functions as a prosthetic device, it is neither restorative nor adjunctive. Instead, the machine exposes the autist’s creative engagement with her surroundings and disrupts our larger understanding of subjectivity.


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pp. 162-175
Launched on MUSE
Open Access
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