Family Harnesses the Power of Disney

We think of the Disney experience as providing fun and entertainment, a way of escaping from real life. Fanciful characters in color-drenched films parade about in scenarios based on legends and fairy tales. They do battle and fall in love and solve the mysteries of their universe.

We watch the films – with and without our kids – and move on to the next thing on our to-do lists.

But one family, faced with their son’s regressive autism at 3 years old, honed in on the one thing that ultimately turned his life around: Disney.

Cornelia and Ron Suskind noticed that their son, Owen, was fixated on Disney films, watching them over and over again. It was when they noticed that he spoke his first meaningful phrase since being diagnosed that they started on their journey to incorporated Disney into his therapy. That grew into a conversation between Owen and Ron with Iago as the intermediary. Walt (aptly named), Owen’s younger brother was instrumental in interpreting for Owen.

It became life changing for the entire family and everyone involved in his therapy and education.

“It was the only way to know our son,” said Ron in a video of him and Owen.

Suskind’s article, “Reaching My Autistic Son Through Disney,” published in the New York Times Magazine, follows the family’s journey with Owen from the age of 3 to 20 when he… wait, we’ll let you read about that.

Do take the time to read the article. It will change the way you look at Disney and the way you look at autism.


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