Tommy’s Disney “affinity” shared by Owen Suskind and so many others

February 26 2017
“On the movie screen, forty feet tall, Owen seems like one in a million. We believe he is one among millions, whose powerful interests are as varied as stars in the sky, and whose potential remains largely untapped. Let’s tap it together.” Ron Suskind, Owen’s dad, in his blog post talking about Owen at the Oscars tonight!
Owen’s story is so very similar to Tommy Des Brisay’s – they both memorized all the lines from every Disney movie, and the movies and characters helped them make sense of the world. Like the Suskind family, we chose to join Tommy and share his joy in quoting the movies and relating to the characters, and it became a wonderful way to communicate with Tommy as his language grew. When Tommy discovered the subtitles and closed captioning on his beloved movies, his language blossomed further, because for Tommy the written word has always supported his speech and comprehension. We are so glad we followed Tommy’s lead always, ignoring the advice from some professionals who insisted we turn off his movies, and instead buying more and encouraging his joy as he discovered and befriended each new story and character!
We love the Suskind’s term “affinities”, and share their philosophy for honouring and encouraging the many varied gifts, talents, and passions of those on the Autism spectrum. Tommy’s lifelong affinity for constant movement and running has become one of his greatest joys and successes! While running, he has always quoted Disney movies, sang Disney songs, imagining himself as Hercules, Aladdin, Dash, and other beloved characters. Singing songs like “One Jump Ahead” from Aladdin, he has light heartedly bounded along race courses, finding great joy in his running successes, always bringing his Disney character friends along for the run in his imagination. The Disney characters are his constant companions in all areas of his life, and Disney movies always provide him just the right language and stories he needs to help communicate his thoughts and feelings in any situation, and help him express himself, and process or cope with the saddest, scariest or happiest moments in his life. Like Owen, Tommy’s affinity for Disney has helped him connect with others- his family, his teachers, his many friends, especially his incredible online community of friends who found his YouTube videos and share his affinity for Disney, as well as his many friends from the Disney parks- fellow guests, cast members and the characters themselves! Through Tommy’s love of Disney, he has also made so many friends who are autistic too, and who share his and Owen’s affinity for Disney. The joy in connecting with others through shared passions is something all humans share, and connecting with other Disney lovers has become a marvellous community of friends for Tommy. Tommy truly is one among millions who share his affinities. The running community has also embraced him and become a group of friends who share his affinity for running. We know that all people with Autism have unique affinities and through those passions they can find much joy and share that joy with others.
Owen- we wish you good luck tonight! Thank you to Ron and Owen’s whole family for sharing your story with the world. We hope to meet you one day! Tommy would be thrilled to recite Disney movies together with you, Owen 🙂
To Tommy’s friends- if you are not already following Life, Animated, check out their page, and the film! And in the comments below, please tell us about your unique affinities and how they have brought joy in your life! Autistic or not, please share with us how Disney and other passions have changed your life and helped you make connections 🙂

PS Although Life, Animated didn’t win the Oscar last night, Owen had an amazing experience and made history in the Autism Community! Check out Ron Suskind’s Facebook page and Twitter for photos from last night! Very exciting!
Also, please check out the Affinities survey at this link on Owen’s Sidekicks website and fill it out if you wish:…
#WhatsYourAffinity #DifferentNotLess #LifeAnimated

Life, Animated
February 26 at 9:30am ·
Oscars Tonight! Who’s tuning in to see Owen and family on the Red Carpet?
(Blog article by Ron Suskind via Autism Speaks)

Why this man with autism is being honored at the Oscars
If you’re watching the Academy Awards this weekend, you’ll see Owen Suskind, and here’s why…

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