Local premiere of inspirational autism story will benefit Autism Society

SCHENECTADY, N.Y. (NEWS10) – There are over 200,000 cases of autism in the U.S every year. A local theater in Schenectady is doing their part to help raise awareness.

Chances are if it’s not in your family, it’s probably somebody you know in your neighborhood or community.

The number of people living with autism in the United States right now is 1-in-68.

Angelo Santabarbara knows about that first-hand. Santabarbara’s 14-year-old son Michael is one of them.

“He doesn’t speak too much, but he’s my best friend and he’s able to communicate in many other ways.”

It’s just one example of thousands across the country, including the family at the heart of a new documentary Life, Animated. The movie tells the story of Owen, an autistic boy that learns to communicate with his family through Disney movies.

“It’s really important that we have examples like this movie to show that there is hope. That autism is something you can live with and that families can be resilient.”

Janine Kruiswijk is the executive director for the Autism Society of the Greater Capital Region. She too is a parent of an autistic child and she also knows the importance of raising awareness.

“These are people who may have difficulty with communication, but that does not mean that they are not intelligent or that they don’t have something to say or something to contribute.”

Life, Animated premieres this week at the Proctors GE Theatre.

CEO Phillip Morris says this movie is truly special.

“What we do in the business of arts and entertainment and film is about storytelling. And storytelling is a human need.”

That movie is set to make it’s debut this Friday at 3:30 p.m.

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