An Autistic Life, Animated Through the World of Disney: A Loving Autoethnography

  • Peter Smagorinsky
Part of the Palgrave Studies In Play, Performance, Learning, and Development book series (PPLD)


In this chapter, I take the family memoir of journalist Ron Suskind (2014a) and reexamine it through the theoretical foundation provided in Part 1 of this volume. Suskind and his wife, Cornelia, raised two sons, Walt and Owen.1 Owen’s development appeared to be on the typical track until the age of two and a half when, suddenly and without apparent cause, he stopped talking, lost his physical bearings, and ceased interacting with others. Suskind’s book details the next 20 years or so of the family’s life, telling a powerful story of how he and his wife adapted their home by constructing an environment through which Owen’s life found a trajectory that enabled him to animate his life with ideas, phrases, whole texts, and meaning, all appropriated and reconfigured through his incessant engagement with movies from the Disney catalogue.


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Authors and Affiliations

  • Peter Smagorinsky
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Language and Literacy EducationThe University of GeorgiaGeorgiaUSA

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