APB Speaker Ron Suskind and Family Featured on 20/20
On November 25th at 10pm ET, 20/20 on ABC will be broadcasting an hour-long special on APB speaker Ron Suskind and his family’s 20 year inspiring journey with their son Owen.
As told in Ron’s book and award-winning documentary Life, Animated, Owen showed absolutely no signs of autism until he turned three when all things came to a halt, including his speech, motor abilities and basic social skills. They were told by leading doctors that most children lose their speech indefinitely, but the Suskinds never gave up and found an amazing route that helped retrieve Owen’s speech: Animated Disney movies.
Once they realized that Owen had memorized 50 Disney movies, the family began communicating in Disney dialogue. Over several years, he got his speech back, learned to read by reading credits and emerged as a teenager who drew incessantly and rewrote scripts. Ron and Cornelia, in conjunction with leading clinicians, helped change the way autism's powerful self-directed passions – what the Suskinds call affinities – can be turned into pathways for social/emotional connection and growth.
This heartfelt story is a moving testament for the future and how we should never give up even in lieu of a terrifying and unexpected diagnosis. Ron Suskind has dedicated his life to help others like his son advance and reach their full potential. Using his story, Ron has worked with leading neurologists to help develop an app called SideKicks to increase the ease of interaction between parents and kids on the spectrum by harnessing these self-directed interests. The Suskinds have much to be thankful for, but the battle isn’t over. The story of the Suskinds is one of many. With new technological advances every day and inspiring stories to share, Ron Suskind believes understanding complexities autism is becoming more and more attainable.