In an early draft of the script there was going to be a romance but Temple herself was adamantly opposed to this as she has never had romance.
Claire Danes and Temple Grandin spent a half-day lunching and visiting in Danes' New York City apartment as part of Danes' research.
Julia Ormond's Emmy for this film is on permanent display at the Center for Autism and The Developing Brain in New York. She had given it to Eustacia Cutler whom she plays in the film on the 19th November 2010 and then they both presented it to the Center on the 8th of May 2016 to honour all mothers who raise children on the autism spectrum.
Temple's line about wanting her life to have meaning and not wanting her thoughts to die with her is what she said to the neurologist Oliver Sacks who wrote an article called An Anthropologist On Mars about her in The New Yorker.
The scenes in which cows appear to be drowning or otherwise in danger were shot not with living cattle but instead with detailed model cows called "stuffies" or an animatronic cow.
Temple's idea of visualising doors was an idea she got from there being a door in her dorm room.
The scene before the cattle auction was set in Arizona but filmed in Texas. Originally they were going to shoot it in Calgary in Canada but Grandin objected saying that there was no way that Calgary could be made to look like Arizona.
In the scene where the doctor informs Eustacia that Temple is autistic the doctor brings up the idea that autism is caused by mothers being cold to their children; the infamous refrigerator mother theory developed by Bruno Bettelheim. In the final scene of the movie Dr. Bernard Rimland is briefly mentioned; he was the man who debunked the refrigerator mother theory.
The small rocket that Professor Carlock, the science teacher, launches to celebrate Temple Grandin's success (with the "perspective" room) is a model of the "Little Joe II", a rocket used to test the Apollo capsule as part of the Moon program. (Very similar to, but not the same as, the "Little Joe" rocket used to test the Mercury capsule; also do not confuse with the "Little Joe 2" rocket flight in the Mercury program.) You can see the model Apollo capsule and Apollo escape tower on the top of the rocket. Given Temple's interest in science, she certainly would be familiar with the tests, which were going on at the time and shown on the evening news.
The Abbot plant was in reality the Swift plant but Swift is a company that's still around so the name had to be changed but they were allowed to use the Scottsdale feed yard name as it had been demolished in the 1980's.
One of the cows was nicknamed The Little Red Cow Who Could by the production team. This cow was the one seen in all the underwater shots (albeit dyed) and in the scene where a cow is shot the little red cow had to go into the room first to encourage the cow that was used in that scene.
In a scene near the end of the film Temple holds the head of the first cow that's about to be slaughtered and reflects that it made her realize how precious life was and made her feel close to God. This scene was based on an event in her autobiography Thinking In Pictures which she describes as her first experience of intense religious feelings.
Grandin originally thought that Sigourney Weaver would be playing her; perhaps not surprising given that she played an autistic woman in Snow Cake and is a brunette like Grandin rather than blonde Claire Danes. She is also of a similar height to Grandin.
The room illusion video that they watch at the boarding school was the same one Temple saw in real life.
In real life Temple did make reference to "You'll Never Walk Alone" at graduation but she spoke the words rather than singing them.
In between the scene where Temple sees Chestnut for the first time and the eels ate scene there is a black and white photograph of Temple on horseback with Claire Danes' face. The original photograph was of Grandin herself and is seen in the closing credits.
Although not named in the movie Grandin stated in an interview with Marcia Alvar at the University of Washington in 1996 that her roommate's name was Gloria.
In the movie Temple learns about people giving each other signals with their eyes to communicate in 1975 from her mother telling her. In real life she read it in a book when she was 50 (1997 or 1998).
Claire Danes was 30 or 31 at the time of filming. She plays Temple Grandin from the age of 15 (in 1962) to 34 (in 1981).