News Article Details

'Life, Animated' author, star to speak about autism, new app at ArtsQuest

Morning Call - 10/18/2017

Oct. 18--Parents of autistic children often find it difficult to bridge the gap of communication.

Ron Suskind knows this well. The Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist learned to use Disney films to communicate with his nonverbal autistic son, Owen. Ron Suskind wrote the best-selling book "Life, Animated" on his experiences, which was later made into an Oscar-nominated documentary film, directed by Easton native Roger Ross Williams.

Now Ron Suskind wants to share what he's learned and talk about a new app that could help parents and caregivers communicate with kids. He'll be speaking at a free presentation starting at 4:30 p.m.Nov. 5 at the ArtsQuest Center's Frank Banko Alehouse Cinemas. The event is hosted by KidsPeace and ArtsQuest.

At 3, Owen was non-verbal and used no eye contact with his parents, but he loved to watch Disney movies over and over again. It's through the movies that the Suskind family found a way to reach Owen and the films became the foundation for how the family would communicate with each other and give Owen a launching pad to improve development in speech and later reading.

Building on what he learned through his experiences with Owen, Ron Suskind founded a technology company that creates applications that would benefit those on the spectrum and with other developmental challenges. The result is a new app, Sidekicks, which seeks to help parents improve their child's ability to identify and regulate their emotions, as well as form independent questions and more.

Suskind will demonstrate the app as well as speak about his experiences at the event. Before he speaks, there will be a special screening of the film "Life, Animated." The film was nominated this year for an Academy Award in the Best Documentary Feature category.

Using children's interests, such as in technology or films, to advance their development is a key principle of intervention, said Rebecca Landa, director for the Center for Autism and Related Disorders at the Kennedy Krieger Institute in Maryland in an interview with The Morning Call earlier this year.

The event will also include a reception hour. Seating is limited and advance registration is required.

Please note that the event is not sensory-friendly and is intended for parents children on the autism spectrum, educators, clinicians, and those who are interested in learning more about ways to support individuals diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder.

Info, register: Gina Stano at gina.stano@kidspeace.org by Oct. 31.

DETAILS:

What: Ron Suskind, best-selling author and star of 'Life, Animated' to speak, unveil a new app for parents called "Sidekicks." The event is hosted by KidsPeace and ArtsQuest.

When: 4:30 p.m.Nov. 5

Where: ArtsQuest Center's Frank Banko Alehouse Cinemas, 101 Founders Way, Bethlehem

How much: Free but registration is required in advance (by Oct. 31). Email: Gina Stano at gina.stano@kidspeace.org by Oct. 31.

jsheehan@mcall.com

610-820-6628

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