Up until he was 3 years old, Owen Suskind was just a normal kid – talking, running, laughing, playing with his big brother. But then, he shut down. His speech and motor skills stated regressing, until the point that he wasn’t speaking at all. On receiving the diagnosis of autism, Owen’s parents were devastated. What happened to their beautiful boy? Would they ever be able to communicate with him? What does autism mean for the future of their family? Luckily, Own’s family had access to great facilities – schools, a specialist team, all working together to help Owen and his family navigate his autism. It wasn’t until Owen was about 8 that there was a breakthrough in his speech, and the family recognized what his devotion to Disney animated films really meant. Owen had memorized all of the dialogue to the films, and he was using the situations in the films to make sense of the world around him! Using this ability as a springboard, communication with Owen became possible, and Owen blossomed. Now in his twenties, the documentary follows Owen as he gets ready to graduate and move into his own apartment.
Owen is a great spokesman for what it’s like to live with autism, and he often shares his story and insights at conferences and other venues to help people to understand more about it. His story is inspiring and hopeful, not only for people with autism, but also for those living with other special needs. For parents and family living with these kind of developmental issues, it can be such an isolating experience, not just for the child but also as a caregiver, and Owen’ s parents willingness to share their thoughts and feelings is hopeful too – we’re not alone.