Parents Reach Son With Autism Through Disney Movies

Owen Suskind's parents tell The New York Times Magazine how acting out animated movies helped their son.
3:00 | 03/10/14

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Transcript for Parents Reach Son With Autism Through Disney Movies
Now to a powerful story of how a mom and daddies cov discovered a way to connect with their son. He fwan to connect and make progress academically and socially. He's the subject of an upcoming documentary that has so many people talking. This is fascinating. Claire shipman has his extraordinary story. Reporter: It's a story as powerful as any fairytale. He was speaking less and less. Then not speaking at all. Reporter: Nearly two dead kax ago, Owen was diagnosed with regressive autism. We have a discussion. The first time in about four years. I talked to him as ago. How does it feel to be you? And Owen turns to the parent like he's bumping into an old friend. And he says, not good. I -- have no friends. And I can't understand what people say. And I'm lonely. All of a sudden, it's a -- a whole world opened up. Reporter: And the family began living double lives. We're going to have to become animated characters. There's though other way to talk to him. We began what we called the basement sessions. We won't down in the evenings and played out movies. He turned the favorite movies into a kind of language. Using a story to make sense of his life. That's what he still does. Iago the parrot. Gilbert Gottfried's voice. Reporter: He and his father are still using the language they created so long ag How. How, geez, what was a that for? He told his mother. The way I see it, you can either run from it, or learn from it. And he swings again and he ducks, rig, because he learned. I learned. Reporter: Owen lives at a special school with other young people. He even has a girlfriend. Guess where he gets his dating advice? Aladdin says he needs to give jasmine her space. You're right. You aren't just some prize to be won. Reporter: Other parents have had success. He thinks the larger lesson is to look for the unique passion in each autistic child that might be a bridge back to the real world. So are you going the watch videos all day? No, no, I'm going to get out and about and save us time for the evening. Reporter: For "Good morning America," Claire shipman, ABC newsings Washington. Oh, my. All if a lovely new book by Ron suskind. Called "Life animated." Let's turn to Dr. Richard Besser with more. We were all just mesmerized. First of all, what is regressive autism? It's a term many haven't heard of. It in 1 in 4 kids with autism. They have some function, growing normally, and then they start to lose things. Usually between a year and a half or 2 years of age. The technique, what you to make of it? It's absolutely unbelievable. They found the hook. The way in. Talking to autism experkts, that's what they look at. That may be the way in. You can develop communication skills. This family discovered it on their own. What is the big takeaway for you? In addition to looking for the hook, the other thing that was incredible here and is so important is the commitment of the family. They were down in that basement every single night acting out these move virgs being part of his world. Not giving up. Advocating when people told them there was no hope for their child, they said, there is. We're going to find way in. It's that persistence that paid off. You see the love. You see the smiles. That was so wonderful. People saying there's no hope for this child. They discovered a complex child and human in front of someone who couldn't communicate. Does it teach us anything about the disorder? I think it tells us how little we know. We lump together autism. Within the umbrella, there are so many different things going on. The more we can understand different types of autism. That could give us ideas in terms of hopefully prevention but how do you reach each of these children. As apediatrician, this must be huge.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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