Disney can really change lives. A new documentary, Life, Animated, is currently in the works which follows of story of how a young autistic boy learned to communicate thanks to Disney films.
Although Owen Suskind was described as a "chatty, energetic" boy at a young age, he stopped speaking at the age of three and remained unable to communicate for almost four years. The only thing that held his interest was Disney films, and his father eventually had a breakthrough in communication after using a puppet of the parrot Iago from Aladdin in an attempt to speak to his son, asking him "what's it like to be you?". Owen then replied by using dialogue from the film. The touching documentary focuses on how his relationship with Disney eventually helped him make sense of the world as he grows up.
Owen learned to communicate through Disney films
In this clip exclusive to HELLO! Online, Owen, now in his twenties, is seen taking part in a lively reading of Aladdin with Jonathan Freeman who voiced Jafar in the 1992 film. He is then totally stunning by yet another character from the film, Gilbert Gottfried, who voiced Jafar's wisecracking sidekick, Iago makes an unexpected appearance.
Owen's tale is told as a story in the documentary
In the trailer for the documentary which is told as a story, Owen's father can be heard speaking about his son's autism and how they eventually realised he could communicate via Disney. He said: "All of a sudden, at three-years-old, Owen vanishes. The Doctor said, 'Let me explain what autism is. Some of the kids never talk again'... We're beginning to give up hope and one day we're watching Disney's animated movies and he suddenly says he doesn't want to grow up, like Mowgli or Peter Pan."
Life, Animated will be released in cinemas on 9 December in the UK.