Posted by Dr. Vollmer on March 13, 2014
“That’s 15 years. These people have helped Cornelia and me parent our son. It’s a humbling thought, and one that prompts a blurring of lines between hired professional and friend.”
Owen, the boy in the picture, and the article, connects to Disney characters like an Oliver Sachs book. His brain begins to develop, then reverses itself, and then comes to life through the stories and characters in Disney movies. Of the many remarkable aspects of this story, the parents, at first devastated, re-booted to see their son thrive when he could relate life to a story that touched him. And so they taught the therapists how to help Owen, and so the therapists listened, and a new village was formed; a village with both real people and imaginary characters, woven together to help Owen achieve independence and self-esteem. Owen sees his brother get sad around his birthday, and so, like Peter Pan, understands that his brother is sad to grow up. This understanding is astounding given Owen’s apparent language deficits. Peter Pan gives him the words to express himself, helping his parents to see the tools needed to tap into Owen’s deep empathy. Ron Suskind, Owen’s dad, is writing a book. Often, I am suspicious of parents who write about their family members for, what could be, purely narcissistic gratification, or shameless self-promotion. In this case, though, Mr. Suskind is doing an amazing public service. If we listen carefully, he argues, we can learn how to help. Yes!