29 Acres, a non-profit organization building a supportive housing community for adults with autism, will present Pulitzer-Prize winning journalist and author, Ron Suskind, who will speak about his book and documentary Life, Animated: A Tale of Autism and Hidden Potential, about his family’s 20-year struggle with his youngest son Owen who has autism and who learned to communicate and express himself through animated Disney movies. The evening is presented in collaboration with the SMU Veterans in Business student club of the Cox School of Business. The presentation and screening will benefit 29 Acres which is raising start-up funds for its Residential Transition Academy to launch in 2018.
29 Acres was founded by a group of families who share a similar need: finding quality programming and safe housing for their young adults with autism. In North Texas, there are surprisingly few opportunities for ongoing support and safe housing for young adults with autism. 29 Acres, a registered 501C3, was founded in 2015 to help fill this enormous need in our community and will build a housing community in Cross Roads, Texas for adults with autism. 29 Acres is collaborating with others in the field, primarily Southwest Autism Research and Resource Center and its sister nonprofit, First Place Arizona, both in Phoenix. 29 Acres will offer an enriched evidence-based curriculum to adults with ASD. For all participants, the programs intent is to promote the realization of greater independence, self-value, success and happiness. For some residents, the curriculum goals may be a 2-year path to substantial independence upon completion. For others, the goal may be lifelong progression to greater independence while continuing to live in the community. For those young adults (18 and above) with ASD who are motivated to live independently in the future, 29 Acres will offer a two-year residential transition academy. The academy is based on the evidence that learning to live independently for adults with developmental disabilities takes practice. Our 2-year program gives these young men and women a longer runway to practice the skills necessary to live away from their families. 29 Acres is currently raising funds to launch this program in the summer of 2018. Students in the first year of the Academy will live at a beta site until the 29 Acres phase one is completed in 2019.
One of America’s most treasured journalists, best-selling author Ron Suskind brings a Renaissance man’s breadth of knowledge and experiences to the speaking stage. His keynotes and mainstage conversations with notable leaders in the financial world draw upon a career as a Pulitzer-Prize-winning Wall Street Journal reporter. Combining a remarkable ability to simplify complex and high-level subject matter with a gift for engaging, entertaining and genuine rapport with audiences, Suskind’s presentations are a showcase for one of the most talented storytellers of our time. As an author and journalist, Ron Suskind has chronicled the financial world for more than 25 years, covering the last three presidencies, the inner workings of Wall Street, and the ways in which financial decisions and government actions drive economies and shape everyday lives. During that time, he has gained the acclaim and trust of Wall Street and Beltway insiders. He is the author of six best-selling books, including Confidence Men—considered the definitive work on the Obama presidency and the 2008 financial crisis—and The Price of Loyalty: George W. Bush, the White House and the Education of Paul O’Neil. Currently, he serves as the co-host of Freak Out and Carry On, a WBUR podcast that addresses the urgent political issues of our time through a historical lens. Suskind’s works are frequently characterized by his passion for giving a voice to the voiceless. This is evident in his most recent best-seller, Life, Animated: A Story of Sidekicks, Heroes and Autism, which was adapted into an Academy Award-nominated documentary. Life, Animated tells the story of his youngest son, Owen, who, after being diagnosed with autism, found a way to reengage with the world around him. Seizing upon Owen’s love of animated Disney movies, the Suskind family re-enacted the films with him, pioneering a now-widely acknowledged method of emulative communication known as Affinity Therapy. When not writing and speaking, Ron Suskind is a Senior Fellow at Harvard’s Edmond J. Safra Center for Ethics, where he serves as a lecturer on narrative and justice. He is also the Founder and CEO of Sidekicks for Autism, which provides a free education app that helps parents deeply connect and communicate with their autistic children. Suskind holds an MA from Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism. Appealing to both corporate audiences and the education community, Ron Suskind’s keynotes artfully blend monologue with reportage, providing insightful analysis on everything from ethics and leadership to the rise and fall of the U.S. economy to our current political landscape. He also works with clients to creatively and collaboratively customize content to the themes and messages of an event. As one investor forum member commented, “Ron Suskind’s passionate delivery had the audience drawn in from the first word. He is an intelligent, knowledgeable, and extremely dynamic speaker.”
WHEN: Wednesday, November 1, 2017, 6:00 pm to 10:00 pm
Presented by 29 Acres and Veterans in Business, Cox School SMU
WHERE: Crum Auditorium at the Cox School of Business SMU,
SCHEDULE: 6:00 pm – VIP Reception with Ron Suskind in the Texas Capital Room at the Cox School (VIP Ticket holders only.)
7:00 pm - Remarks and Movie Screening in the Crum Auditorium
10:00 pm – End of event
HOW: Tickets start at $25 and sponsorships start at and are available through Eventbrite at