How an Autistic Child Built a Language from Disney Link

I enjoyed this article from Ron Suskind about his family’s struggle connecting with an Autistic child:

Then, a thought: Be Iago. What would Iago say? I push the puppet up from the covers. “So, Owen, how ya doin’?” I say, doing my best Gilbert Gottfried. “I mean, how does it feel to be you?!” I can see him turn toward Iago. It’s as if he is bumping into an old friend. “I’m not happy. I don’t have friends. I can’t understand what people say.” I have not heard this voice, natural and easy, with the traditional rhythm of common speech, since he was 2. I’m talking to my son for the first time in five years. Or Iago is. Stay in character. “So, Owen, when did yoooou and I become such good friends?”

In some ways talking with any child is an exercise in defining a common language, but the story of Owen was a little heart wrenching and a little inspiring at the same time. If you want to sum up the legacy of Disney: they created a common language for adults to connect with kids. That’s a pretty wonderful thing.

By way of LongReads