Disney films are much more than entertainment. They can help children with autism interact with other people

Cartoons, eh? High-octane nonsense that’s fit for nothing more than plonking the kids in front of, leaving you a few precious moments while they’re distracted.

Or maybe not. Take the fascinating story of Owen Suskind who, at the age of three, suddenly stopped talking, lost the bright, happy character he was known for, and couldn’t even walk in a straight line any more.

In 1994 Owen — the son of Cornelia and Ron Suskind, both journalists (he a Pulitzer Prize-winner) — was diagnosed with regressive autism, which occurs after a child has begun to develop, and continues until they are unable to communicate. The Suskinds explored every therapy available. But in the end progress came from a rather unexpected source: Disney movies.

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19th December 2016