A Wonderful Read: One Family's Experience with Disney and Autism
Let me be up front first: My disdain for the Disney Corporation is one of my many unpopular opinions among family and friends. I have many reasons I find Disney problematic, which I won't go into here. That being said, this NYTimes article about how one family used their autistic child's love of Disney movies to reach his hidden self is one of the best things I've read in a long while.
It's a long read, but very much worth it.
“A sidekick helps the hero fulfill his destiny,” he chirps. Rolls right off his tongue. A classical, elegant definition.
“Do you feel like a sidekick, Owie?” Cornelia asks him softly. Their eyes are aligned, just the two of them now, looking into each other, until he suddenly breaks into “happy face.”
“I am one!” he says. His voice is high and cheery, no sign of a quaver. “I am a sidekick.” The words come out flat, without affectation. But he compensates, giving them expression by nodding after every two syllables.
“And no . . . sidekick . . . gets left . . . behind.”
There’s no doubt, now, that he sees what we see: that kids of all kinds, including his classmates at Lab School, are moving on, while he’s left behind. The sidekicks have emerged, sketch by sketch, in the difficult months since his ejection from Lab. His response has been to embrace it, the pain of it, and be a protector of the discarded.
The very end of the article is heartbreaking, encouraging, and hopeful all at once. This is a fascinating, well-written story told by a Pulitzer prize-winning author (Ron Suskind) about his family. You will be glad you took the time for this one.
H/T to theSkimm.