Movie, discussion focus on autism
Apr 20, 2017 | 2999 views | 0 0 comments | 146 146 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Owen Suskind
Owen Suskind
BRATTLEBORO- “Life, Animated,” the inspirational award-winning film about Owen Suskind, a young man with autism whose affinity for Disney characters opens the door to communication with others, screens Friday evening, April 21, at New England Youth Theatre and will be followed by a panel discussion with autism experts about the so-called “autism cliff” matriculation from the federally mandated care of the public school system.

Vermont students with disabilities may stay in the public school system until the day before their 22nd birthday. The period immediately following matriculation from high school has been dubbed “the autism cliff” because of the steep drop-off in social activities and learning for those on the autistic spectrum. Many parents and caregivers are not prepared for their now-adult child to be entirely in their care, often underfoot at home, with little stimulation or productive activities to keep their child occupied.

Doors for the event open at 6:30 pm, with a dessert, coffee, and tea reception. The film, which is based on the best-selling book “Life, Animated,” by renowned journalist Ron Suskind, father of Owen, screens at 7 pm. A panel discussion with professionals who work in the field will follow at 8:30 pm. The event is a benefit for Theatre Adventure, NEYT’s program for actors with disabilities, a year-round program for young people and adults with developmental disabilities.

Experts on the panel include Julie Cunningham, executive director of Families First, a social services agency headquartered in Wilmington; Karen Price, Parent Training and Information Center Project Director and Family Support Director at the Vermont Family Network, which is part of a federal program to support families raising children with disabilities; and others from the educational and nonprofit housing field.

Tickets are $15 each, although no one will be turned away for lack of funds.

For information contact Laura Lawson Tucker, (802) 257-7024 or
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