This week, we talk about the new Life, Animated documentary, which tells the story of Owen Suskind, a young man who showed signs of regressive autism at age 3 when he suddenly stopped speaking. For years after, he remained unable to connect with other people or to clearly convey his thoughts, feelings, or desires.
Owen had a deep love of Disney animated films, though, and would watch them endlessly. Over time, Owen found useful tools to help him to understand complex social cues and to reconnect with the world around him. In short, he learned to speak again through Disney films and dialogue (as the self-proclaimed leader of the sidekicks).
The film is based on father Ron’s The New York Times bestseller, and although it reveals some of the family’s heartbreak and frustration over the years, Owen’s story is ultimately a very hopeful and optimistic one. It’s an emotional coming-of-age story follows Owen as he graduates to adulthood and takes his first steps toward independence. It’s also the story of a family’s resilience when their world is turned upside down.
On this episode, we chat with parents Ron and Cornelia about the film, Owen’s life, their decision to share his story with the world, Owen’s role in making both the book and film, and their advice for parents who may have just received the news that their child is on the spectrum.
- Ron Suskind is on Twitter here.
- The film is on Twitter here and online here.
- The show is on Twitter here and Facebook here.
- Jamie is on Twitter and Instagram as @theroarbots.
- Justin is on Twitter and Instagram as @140JustinC.