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Part 1: Life, Animated: How a Family Reached Their Autistic Son Through Disney Movies



http://democracynow.org – Today we spend the hour with a young man with autism who learned to interact with the world in an unusual way. Owen Suskind was diagnosed with regressive autism when he was three years old. He stopped talking, and his family said Owen “vanished” within himself. He did not speak for years. Then his father, the Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Ron Suskind, discovered a remarkable way to talk with his son involving characters from Owen’s favorite Disney films. Owen had memorized the lines to dozens of Disney films, and this discovery changed all of their lives, opening a new way for Owen to communicate. His story became the focus of Ron Suskind’s best-selling book, “Life, Animated: A Story of Sidekicks, Heroes, and Autism.” Owen has since gone to college and now holds two jobs. Last year Owen, who is now in his twenties, even appeared on a Comedy Central special alongside the comedian Gilbert Gottfried who did the original voice of Iago the parrot in the Disney film “Aladdin.” Now the story of Owen’s life has been turned into the documentary “Life, Animated,” which just premiered at the Sundance Film Festival. In an extended interview, we feature excerpts from the film and speak with Owen Suskind, his father Ron and Roger Ross Williams, the film’s director, in Park City, Utah.

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