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July 23, 2014, 8:11 am

Autistic students take stage to defy expectations

In recognition of April as National Autism Month, OWN: Oprah Winfrey Network will air the acclaimed documentary "Autism: The Musical" at 11 a.m. on Sunday, April 15.

According to the network, "Autism: The Musical," directed by Tricia Regan, is the story of one woman's pledge to lead a group of five autistic children from Los Angeles to defy expectations by writing, rehearsing and performing their own full-length musical. The cast includes Henry Stills, who is described as "an expert on dinosaurs and a budding comedian." Henry is the son of pop/rock icon, Stephen Stills, formerly of Crosby Stills & Nash, who also appears in the documentary. The film won two primetime Emmys for "Outstanding Nonfictional Special" and "Outstanding Picture Editing for Nonfiction Programming," in addition to six international film festival honors.

"I couldn't be prouder or more thrilled that 'Autism the Musical' will air on OWN: Oprah Winfrey Network. This movie is a love song to everyone who has ever dealt with autism and anyone who ever will," said Regan. "It's message of hope, and strength against all odds, has the power to inspire and change lives — I know this because I've seen it happen again and again. I salute OWN for bringing this film to their audience."

Once a rare disorder, autism now afflicts "approximately one out of every 88 children in the U.S., increasing at a rate of 10 percent to 17 percent annually," making it the nation's fastest-growing developmental disability, according to the Centers for Disease Control.

As autism becomes more common, "Autism: The Musical" brings to light "the triumphs and challenges facing a growing number of families in America," bringing attention to a modern-day epidemic, while "celebrating the way the human spirit can overcome any challenge."

"Autism: The Musical" is a part of OWN's "Super Soul Sunday" programming, which delivers a "thought-provoking, eye-opening and inspiring block of programming designed to help viewers to awaken their best selves and discover a deeper connection to the world around them." For more information, visit www.oprah.com/supersoulsunday.

 

Contact entertainment reporter Kimberly C. Roberts at (215) 893-5753 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .