Transcript for Campus in the Catskills works with children and families living with autism
Now an inspiring story about a groundbreaking place changing the lives of children with autism. Boosting their confidence and giving them an opportunity to have their own moment in the spotlight. ABC's Paula Faris had a front row seat. Reporter: Tommy is getting ready for a very special school play. You should be so proud. Give yourself a round of applause. I'm called the interviewee. Oh, wow, you are very astute. I am the interviewer and you are the interviewee. After weeks of rehearsals, the big night has arrived. It's a night no one thought would happen because of his disability. How did you get that idea? One of the lines is, hello. Wow, you're a natural. How much do you love acting? Oh, I love acting. I love being theatrical. Reporter: This is the culmination of a musical therapy program where young people with autism and other complex conditions like Tommy's are treated. The impulse here is to create a platform where people can be the best parts of themselves. We're really trying to understand complex conditions and autism and figure out new treatments, new interventions that can change the outcome tore children then air families. Some live on its beautiful campus which is set in the rolling hills of the southern catskills mountains in New York and in homes that dot nearby hurleyville. The center grows food organically on campus selling some of it commercially but the food may have much more value than money can buy. In fact, a soon-to-be released research study says it can be life changing. The results are stunning. And once they're released later on this year I think it will change the way we're treating children with autism. Reporter: Scientists say there's a direct connection to diet and the health of the gastrointestinal system in autistic patients. The center for discovery has been at the forefront of this development. What we have found is that the gut microbome is stunningly different than other the children in the study. Food is medicine. Reporter: They say their patients are healthier and happier because of the organic food they eat and the low stress rural environment. How do you think this place has made you a better person? Since I moved here I think pretty good. Yeah? You just feel better about yourself. Yeah. Yeah? Reporter: The center says a big component to its success is its music therapy program. This year's production, "Beauty and the beast." Remember Tommy? Well, he plays Maurice, belle's father. No matter what Theater really is the sum total to our program here. Reporter: Remarkable, unprecedented steps for people with autism to stand before an audience and connect with others on stage and to practice and put on a show. Rick plays lefou, Gaston's side look at the joy on Rick's face. I like to dance, singing. Reporter: Avery plays Mrs. Potts. You have a child with special needs. You feel like you're left out of society sometimes. We never dreamed she would shine like she has here. Who had thought Reporter: I had a front row seat to the production and was deeply moved by what I saw in awe of everyone on stage. And for many of the parents in the audience, tears of joy. I am so proud of him. He's absolutely amazing. He's happy. Ah. He a happy free child. Beauty and the beast You did it. You did it. Nice job, buddy. I'm the interviewer and you're the interviewee. Reporter: For "Good morning America," Paula Faris, hurleyville, New York. What a special place and our
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