For our first segment of Podcast of the Week, I turn you towards Juicervose, a charming story that will inspire and give you chills, along with making you laugh. This is the story of Ron Suskind’s son, Owen, a young boy who is diagnosed with regressive autism at the age of two.
Suskind is a prominent American writer and journalist and when moving his family to Washington DC his youngest son, who had been normally developing previous to the move, suddenly became stunted, and struggled to talk, interact, and even struggled with motor ability. He would obsessively watch Disney movies, rewinding and re-watching, meticulously taking it in, until one day, he starts to connect Disney plot lines to what is happening in his actual life. His family soon finds out that by talking to Owen by pretending to be Disney characters, he was actually able to understand reality much better and for the first time in his life, actually communicate with his family. The piece is incredible and endlessly charming, one that not only gives better insight but keeps you hooked to the point where you never want it to end.
The story takes outside opinions on how things like Disney can help children with autism connect and communicate with the world, one from a family who treats children with autism through the help of their parents devoted effort, another from famous actor Sacha Baron Cohen’s cousin, a specialist in the field. They discuss how Owen’s case might be just an isolated incident, but seriously consider the way children can use something simple, clear, and something you can watch on repeat, to learn to understand others and make connections between emotions and behaviour. By hearing outside opinions and the science behind what makes a Disney movie so helpful to someone with autism doesn’t just round out the story with fact, but is truly fascinating and helps make the Disney connection actually make sense.
Juicervose is a one of a kind story that will honestly make you ‘awww’ out loud more than is socially acceptable. It’s smart and enticing, and looks into a world that really hasn’t been seen or spoken about much before. Coming in at less than an hour, Juicervose is well worth one hour of your week. (iTunes/RadioLab).