At the Askwith Forums on Thursday, October 6, “Life, Animated: Autism, Ableism, and Educators,” Pulitzer Prize-winner and Harvard Law School Lecturer Ron Suskind will speak about his experience raising an autistic son and how education and public policy can better serve Americans with disabilities. Here’s what you should know before the event:
- Suskind, father of two, including one autistic son, has written extensively on the lessons he has learned about autism over 20 years. As he told New York Times Magazine, “This is the crushing pain of autism. Of not being able to know your own child, to share love and laughter with him, to comfort him, to answer his questions …. Autism isn’t a spell [to be] broken; it’s a way of being.”
- His latest book, Life, Animated: A Story of Sidekicks, Heroes, and Autism, chronicles his family’s struggle raising an autistic son with an affinity for Disney movies and explores love, parenthood, and friendship. The book has been adapted into an award-winning documentary.
- This experience inspired Suskind to raise $7.1 million to found a Cambridge start-up called Sidekicks which leverages advances in technology and neuroscience to better engage with children on the autism spectrum on the basis of their affinities. “Affinities tap a deep well of not only passion, motivation, but a desire to express who you are,” Suskind told New York Times Magazine.
- He won the 1995 Pulitzer Prize for following the story of a Washington, D.C. high school student, Cedric Jennings, who wanted to attend MIT. Those articles later turned into a book, A Hope in the Unseen, which followed Jennings along his journey through college.
- Other writing by Suskind has explored debates around the country’s use of power and recounted the administrations of Presidents George Bush and Barack Obama in The Price of Loyalty and Confidence Men.
Thursday, October 6, at 5:30 p.m.
Askwith Hall, Longfellow Hall
13 Appian Way
Cambridge, MA, 02138
NOTE: Seating is first-come, first-seated.