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disney helped with autistic son

Gilbert Gottfried in 2016.

Gilbert Gottfried was a legendary stand-up comic, who somehow managed to pull off bizarre, even crude humor with a sense of lighthearted charm. He also appeared in countless films and TV shows as an actor, including “Saturday Night Live,” “Beverly Hills Cop II” and more recently “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel.”

But for many ’90s kids (myself included) he was quite simply the one, the only … Iago.



Gottfried brought a wisecracking, chaotic Disney parrot to life in a way that no one else could. In fact, fellow “Aladdin” actor Jonathan Freeman credited Gottfried for bringing out his best rendition of the movie’s sinister villain, Jafar.

“My performance was much improved by having had Gilbert as the parrot because I didn’t have to be psychotic. I could let him be psychotic,” Freeman said in an interview for Theater Mania.

And while nearly everyone on the planet might know about Gottfried’s Iago, they might not know how his beloved character helped one father connect once again with his autistic son.


In 2014, Pulitzer Prize winning journalist Ron Suskind wrote an article for The New York Times sharing how his son Owen’s regressive autism diagnosis came as a frustrating, confusing and painful shock.

Unlike children born with it, those with regressive autism seem to be developing typically then will suddenly experience a rapid loss in communication and social skills. This meant his once “chatty, energetic” boy stopped speaking. For four years.

In the midst of the family’s upheaval, one saving grace provided comfort and stability: Disney.

Movies such as “The Little Mermaid,” “Beauty and the Beast” and even old classics like “Dumbo” and "Bambi” still held Owen’s interest. And eventually, Suskind discovered that they could also be the key to communication.

On his brother Walt’s birthday, Owen used a Disney reference to speak a complex sentence: “Walter doesn’t want to grow up, like Mowgli or Peter Pan.”

Eager to find a way to keep the momentum going, Suskind followed Owen into his room.

As he tiptoed up the stairs, Suskind saw a puppet of Iago, one of Owen’s “favorite characters.”

Owen had been doing lots of Iago echolalia, repeating certain character lines. Echolalia is commonly described as both a symptom of autism and as a point of entry for a parent.

Suskind joked that it was “easy to identify because the character is voiced by Gilbert Gottfried, who talks like a busted Cuisinart.”

Suskind successfully grabbed the Iago puppet, then froze, not knowing what to say. Suddenly, an idea came. “What would Iago say?”

Doing his best Gilbert Gottfried, Suskind started to ask Owen simple questions.

“How ya doin'?”

“How does it feel to be you?”

He must have done a convincing Gottfried impression, because it worked. Owen and “Iago” had a long, heartfelt conversation. Owen even channeled his inner Jafar. They were playing together. A miracle.

“I hear a laugh, a joyful little laugh that I have not heard in many years,” the father wrote.

That breakthrough would eventually lead to Suskind writing a book about the life-changing discovery. He even teamed up with Owen (now all grown up) to adapt the book into a documentary called “Life Animated.

Owen now seems to be a happy, healthy adult (a picture of him next to Gottfried below) with a fulfilling life—and yes, still a love of Disney, thanks in part to a wisecracking, chaotic parrot.

Gottfried’s voice was indeed iconic. But, as with many great artists, it also helped others find their voice. His talent made a lasting positive impact, and he will be missed.

All images provided by Bombas

We can all be part of the giving movement

True

We all know that small acts of kindness can turn into something big, but does that apply to something as small as a pair of socks?

Yes, it turns out. More than you might think.

A fresh pair of socks is a simple comfort easily taken for granted for most, but for individuals experiencing homelessness—they are a rare commodity. Currently, more than 500,000 people in the U.S. are experiencing homelessness on any given night. Being unstably housed—whether that’s couch surfing, living on the streets, or somewhere in between—often means rarely taking your shoes off, walking for most if not all of the day, and having little access to laundry facilities. And since shelters are not able to provide pre-worn socks due to hygienic reasons, that very basic need is still not met, even if some help is provided. That’s why socks are the #1 most requested clothing item in shelters.

homelessness, bombasSocks are a simple comfort not everyone has access to

When the founders of Bombas, Dave Heath and Randy Goldberg, discovered this problem, they decided to be part of the solution. Using a One Purchased = One Donated business model, Bombas helps provide not only durable, high-quality socks, but also t-shirts and underwear (the top three most requested clothing items in shelters) to those in need nationwide. These meticulously designed donation products include added features intended to offer comfort, quality, and dignity to those experiencing homelessness.

Over the years, Bombas' mission has grown into an enormous movement, with more than 75 million items donated to date and a focus on providing support and visibility to the organizations and people that empower these donations. These are the incredible individuals who are doing the hard work to support those experiencing —or at risk of—homelessness in their communities every day.

Folks like Shirley Raines, creator of Beauty 2 The Streetz. Every Saturday, Raines and her team help those experiencing homelessness on Skid Row in Los Angeles “feel human” with free makeovers, haircuts, food, gift bags and (thanks to Bombas) fresh socks. 500 pairs, every week.

beauty 2 the streetz, skid row laRaines is out there helping people feel their beautiful best

Or Director of Step Forward David Pinson in Cincinnati, Ohio, who offers Bombas donations to those trying to recover from addiction. Launched in 2009, the Step Forward program encourages participation in community walking/running events in order to build confidence and discipline—two major keys to successful rehabilitation. For each marathon, runners are outfitted with special shirts, shoes—and yes, socks—to help make their goals more achievable.

step forward, helping homelessness, homeless non profitsRunning helps instill a sense of confidence and discipline—two key components of successful recovery

Help even reaches the Front Street Clinic of Juneau, Alaska, where Casey Ploof, APRN, and David Norris, RN give out free healthcare to those experiencing homelessness. Because it rains nearly 200 days a year there, it can be very common for people to get trench foot—a very serious condition that, when left untreated, can require amputation. Casey and Dave can help treat trench foot, but without fresh, clean socks, the condition returns. Luckily, their supply is abundant thanks to Bombas. As Casey shared, “people will walk across town and then walk from the valley just to come here to get more socks.”

step forward clinic, step forward alaska, homelessness alaskaWelcome to wild, beautiful and wet Alaska!

The Bombas Impact Report provides details on Bombas’s mission and is full of similar inspiring stories that show how the biggest acts of kindness can come from even the smallest packages. Since its inception in 2013, the company has built a network of over 3,500 Giving Partners in all 50 states, including shelters, nonprofits and community organizations dedicated to supporting our neighbors who are experiencing- or at risk- of homelessness.

Their success has proven that, yes, a simple pair of socks can be a helping hand, an important conversation starter and a link to humanity.

You can also be a part of the solution. Learn more and find the complete Bombas Impact Report by clicking here.

Joy

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Part of what makes the beauty of fall unique is that it's fleeting. Mother Nature puts on a vibrant show as she sheds what no longer serves her, inviting us to revel in her purposeful self-destruction. It's a gorgeous example of not only embracing change, but celebrating it.

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This article originally appeared on 07.10.21


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There are few things that feel more awful than being stranded at the altar by your spouse-to-be. That’s why people are cheering on Kayley Stead, 27, from the U.K. for turning a day of extreme disappointment into a party for her friends, family and most importantly, herself.

According to a report in The Metro, on Thursday, September 15, Stead woke up in an Airbnb with her bridemaids, having no idea that her fiance, Kallum Norton, 24, had run off early that morning. The word got to Stead’s bridesmaids at around 7 a.m. the day of the wedding.

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