The news has been full this past week with the release of Ron Suskinds’s new book “Life, Animated: A Story of Sidekicks, Heroes, and Autism”. Suskind is a best selling author and winner of a Pulitzer Prize. He has been a senior journalist for The Wall Street Journal from 1993 to 2000.
Suskind wrote an article “Reaching My Autistic Son Through Disney” for the New York Times that was published on March 7, 2014 and the story began to go viral. The article was adapted from “Life, Animated” which arrived in bookstores everywhere yesterday and is bound to be a best seller.
“Use the affinity as a pathway.”
From Slate to Bloomburg to Huffington Post everywhere one looked, there has been coverage of Suskind, his wife Cornelia and their two sons Walter and Owen. At age three after seeing the loss of their Owen’s language and social skills, he was diagnosed with regressive autism.
The Suskinds went on HuffintonPost live a few days ago to discuss their experiences. The full interview can be viewed here.
Jennifer Richler, a former researcher in the field of autism and regression, points out in her article in Slate,
“The kind of developmental pattern that Suskind’s son experienced is very rare. Most children with autism show signs of the disorder in the first two years of life. Yes, studies have suggested that about one-third of children with autism experience some kind of regression, but most of these children do not have typical development to begin with”
Richer goes on to add that Suskind’s story should evoke compassion and hope and not begin to raise any fears in parents who may worry that their child may regress.
But this isn’t a story about regressive autism or Disney. It is a odyssey of 20 years. It is a journey of how one family encourages their child’s passion or obsession to get in touch with the best route to connect with him. And what a wonderful and inspiring way to kick of Autism Awareness Month.