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tv   Nightline  ABC  June 29, 2016 12:37am-1:08am PDT

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this is night lin. >> tonight, breaking news. terror at one of the world's busiest airports. suicide bombs and gunfire killing dozens in istanbul. eerily echoing recent attacks. so who is responsible? she won more than 1,000 games. ncaa coach pat summitt, the ultimate champion. celebrating a fierce fighter whose life and legacy transcended the court. never backing down, not even in the face of alzheimer's. and life animated. one family's journey with autism. forging a new dialogue through the magic of movies. >> it's the first conversation we've ever had. >> the discovery that changed their lives. but first the "nightline 5."
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good evening. we begin with the breaking news. the terror attack at the major airport in istanbul, tourry, the city a popular tourist destination for americans. now what may be the first video
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of the attack. images hitting the internet showing what appears to be one of the three attackers detonating an explosive device at the terminal. at least three dozen dead, more than 140 injured. no word yet on who did this. turkish officials and others are looking closely at isis tonight. americans in turkey are urged to let loved ones know they are safe via social media. we will be updating this story all night on abcnews.com and much more first thing in the morning on "gma." we move on to the story of a towering and ground-breaking figure in the world of sports. pat summitt has died. abc's robin roberts who had a special relationship with the coach looks back tonight. >> reporter: a legendary, unstoppable force. a pioneer in women's sports. and a fierce competitor. >> i don't know about y'all but i want to win a national championship. >> reporter: pat summitt coached
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the university of tennessee's lady vols to eight national championships. she was an inspiration to millions and a long-time dear friend. >> how you doing? >> so good to see you. >> reporter: 38 seasons with more than 1,000 victories. pat summitt is the winningest basketball coach in division i history, men's or women's. >> pat summitt and destiny! >> reporter: in 2011, pat took on her most daunting opponent, alzheimer's. when did you know something wasn't right? >> i'd wake up in the morning and i'd think, where am i? i'd have to gather myself. i just didn't feel right. >> reporter: concerned about disorientation and other signs like losing her keys and forgetting her schedule, pat sought a leading specialist at the mayo clinic who confirmed her worst fears. she had early onset dementia, alzheimer's type. >> obviously, very disappointed. i hate to sound this way, but why me? why me with dementia? it was hard for me.
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you know, i mean, it hurt me, but i go, well, i got to do it. i got to deal with it. >> reporter: by her side throughout has been pat's only child, her now 25-year-old son tyler. >> was there a period of denial with your mom after diagnosis, honestly? >> with anything like dementia, that first initial shock, if you just accept it, then you don't really care. and so i think there needed to be that denial. because that led to the fight and the fire that's inside her. >> reporter: pat broke the news of her disease to the world. >> i have something to share with my tennessee family. earlier this year, the doctors at the mayo clinic diagnosed me with an early onset dementia, alzheimer's type, at the age of 59. >> we were all emotional, she was emotional. then she just quit and said, it's not a pity party, we're going to get through this, we're going to get think this as a staff, as a team, as a family. >> reporter: always the fighter, pat never shied away. still determined to continue
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coaching. >> you look at it as an opponent? >> yes. >> a beatable opponent? >> absolutely. >> reporter: that same tenacity and grit was in her long before basketball stardom. she came from humble beginnings. her three older brothers taught her to play. she continued in college at ut martin and coached the 1984 usa women's basketball team to their first-ever olympic gold medal. >> it's hard for me to say this. but you know there's no cure. >> right. >> it is that type of disease that robs you as time goes on. >> the one thing that really drives me is having a team. having my son, obviously, is the best. but going in and having my team -- it just keeps my brain working. active. i'm doing things. i don't want to sit around the house. >> you still feel you have something to teach them?
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>> i always think i have something to teach them. >> reporter: she began taking medications to help maintain her memory and stuck to a daily regimen suggested by her doctors. >> i work out five days a week. they say that's very, very important. keep my mind sharp. i got a lot of puzzles. i want to challenge you here a little bit. >> oh, no, please. >> reporter: but just a year after her diagnosis, pat would make the difficult decision to step aside as the head coach at tennessee. >> it has been a privilege to make an impact on the lives of 161 women who have worn the orange. >> reporter: she became emotional when talking about it at an espn documentary "pat xo." >> it was hard. you know, because i didn't -- i didn't want to -- but i felt like i needed to step down. >> yeah. >> it's okay. it's okay. it's okay.
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>> reporter: in 2013, i went to visit her. and of course pat, as head coach emeritus of the lady vols, took me to a game. >> pat summitt and robin roberts. >> two of the most inspirational women in sports -- >> reporter: she was still attending practice at all home games but the memories of all those victories slowly fading. >> i like numbers more than you do. the eight championships, the 16 conference championships, and to know that you can't really draw upon those memories as much as you would like. >> right. >> is that a difficult time for you, pat? >> you know, that was hard at first. but, you know -- i felt like, as time went on, you know -- i thought, i can do this. i can do this. >> reporter: sad news of the basketball legend's death at the young age of 54. >> alzheimer's disease ultimately is a killer because your body has been weakened over
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the course of time and in terms of not being able to take care of itself or conduct activities of daily living. your bathing, your eating. you forget to swallow. >> reporter: about 200,000 americans are living with early onset alzheimer's which hits before the age of 65. >> and there is data that has indicated that the more education level a person has, the longer they can stave off the symptoms, but then the faster they decline after that. >> we all tried to pitch in at home -- >> reporter: it's a diagnosis familiar to actress kimberly williams paisley. her mother linda was diagnosed with another devastating type of dementia at age of 62. >> watching someone with dementia deteriorate is really devastating. it changes the person sometimes to the point where they're unrecognizable. >> reporter: kimberly chronicles the heartbreak of watching her mom forget who she is in her new book "where the light gets in." she says the diagnosis can be especially hard on loved ones. >> that's one of the hardest
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parts of the disease. losing the personality of the person. losing what seems to be their essence. it can be heartbreaking. enlist help of friends, enlist help of family, use the resources. don't think that you can do it yourself. >> reporter: for her team, pat's fight taught them to cherish every moment. >> it's reinforced to all of us, this whole thing is a gift. i think these moments kind of crystallize momentarily how precious it is and how relatively fleeting all of it is, so enjoy it. take every day and suck the marrow right out of it and enjoy it. >> reporter: a life lesson that transcends far beyond the basketball court. what is it that you want people to understand about you that can help them? >> it may not be the best thing, but you just got to make it what it is. and, you know, that's what i've done. >> reporter: for "nightline," i'm robin roberts in new york.
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up next, how these parents stumbled upon a remarkable breakthrough with a son who has autism. they say he came out of his shell through animated films like "aladdin." chantix. smoking with i decided to take chantix to shut everybody else up about me quitting smoking. i was going to give it a try, but i didn't really think it was going to really happen. after one week of chantix, i knew i could quit. along with support, chantix (varenicline) is proven to help people quit smoking. chantix definitely helped reduce my urge to smoke. some people had changes in behavior, thinking or mood, hostility, agitation, depressed mood and suicidal thoughts or actions while taking or after stopping chantix. some had seizures while taking chantix. if you have any of these, stop chantix and call your doctor right away. tell your doctor about any history of mental health problems, which could get worse or of seizures. don't take chantix if you've had a serious allergic or skin reaction to it. if you have these, stop chantix and call your doctor right away as some can be life-threatening. tell your doctor if you have heart or blood vessel problems, or develop new or worse symptoms. get medical help right away if you have symptoms of a heart attack or stroke.
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now the story of two parents who thought they had lost their son to autism. they got him out of his shell of silence, they say, through the magic of movies. disney movies, to be specific. disney, of course, is the parent cough abc news. abc's deborah roberts has more. >> i'm peter pan!
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>> i'm captain hook, you're peter pan, okay. >> reporter: precious home video. make-believe between a 2-year-old boy and his dad. but this moment in time would later mean so much more. >> then we just watched it over and over. like, how could this be possible? here he is a few months ago. >> reporter: not long after filming this scene in 1993, owen suskine's world halted. he stopped talking, showing affection, and gaining in the world around him. his parents ron and cornelia soon got a shattering diagnosis. regressive autism. must have been devastating. >> we just froze. you know, and the doctors started to explain, okay, this is going to change your life. he may never get his speech back. many of the kids don't. >> reporter: ron, an award-winning "wall street journal" reporter, gifted with words. but now his own son has none. >> just started to vanish. he couldn't look at you. walked around like someone with
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their eyes closed. >> 4-year-old owen's language jibber require. frustration growing. >> jusuvus, cornelia thought he wanted more juice, he knocked the cup over. >> reporter: for some a particularly topic of interest, "star trek," maps. for owen, disney movies, he was fixated on a scene in "the little mermaid." >> he rewinds it the second time, the third time. cornelia goes, it's not juice. >> it won't cost much, just your voice! >> i grab owen and say, just your voice! he looks at me for the first time in a year and says, "jules a vus." pandemonium broke out in the bedroom. >> reporter: now owen and his family are sharing the heartwarming journey in a new
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documentary "life, animated." >> i see owen on the bed. i see yaga the puppet. yago is the evil sidekick to the villain jaffar from "aladdin." i grab the puppet. i pull it up to my elbow. i say, owen, owen, how does it feel to be you? >> and i said, not good, because i don't have any friends. >> and then we talk. it's the first conversation we've ever had. >> reporter: a remarkable discovery. owen had memorized every line from every disney movie. and the family now realized by speaking in those characters' voices, they could communicate with their son. the suskinds would spend several years immersing themselves in owen's world. >> we were living a kind of double life. i'm interviewing presidents. and at night we're animated
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characters. >> what did you feel when you were watching those movies? >> felt like i was in a better safe place. >> the world was so noisy coming at him, overwhelming him. as cornelia said, the movies were the one thing that didn't change. >> one thing that can happen with disney movies is children will learn parts of the script -- >> reporter: dr. landa, who spent 20 years working with children with autism, says it's important to pay close attention to what they're trying to express. >> they can't put together the words from scratch. to express their idea. so they're borrowing from the movie. >> reporter: beyond the storylines, owen feels a kinship with certain characters. and it wasn't just the movies, it was the sidekicks? >> the sidekicks, yeah. >> what is it about the sidekicks, owen? >> they are so fun-loving, wacky, entertaining. and also help the heroes fulfill their destiny. >> hakuna patada, it means no
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worries. >> do most people think the sidekicks are important? >> no. >> the question is, who are you? >> did you feel a little like a sidekick yourself? >> i sure did. >> reporter: in fact, he compares people in his life to sidekicks from disney movies. >> that love business is a powerful thing. >> reporter: dad merlin from "the sword in the stone." >> off to the cupboard with you now, chip. >> reporter: mom, mrs. potts, from "beauty and the beast." >> what sidekick does deborah remind you of? >> i say rosie the spieder from "a bug's life." >> tell deborah wa rosie the spider's like. >> fun and kind and caring. >> reporter: owen is one of many with autism who are drawn to disney stories. >> what's his name? >> reporter: colleen says her 22-year-old son jonathan finds great comfort in the movies. especially "toy story." >> his mood changes. like if it comes on, he'll just stop and watch it and calm down. he has an adult costume of buzz
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lightyear. and he does sometimes sleep in it. >> may i have your attention, please. >> reporter: for owen, animated movies have opened a window into friendships. he started a disney club at his school. >> we watch parts of disney animated films and discuss them and see what they're really about in our lives. >> they're speaking the language of disney to each other. it's like magic. >> reporter: embracing their son's complex world has led ron and cornelia to see life differently. >> there are many affinities. the kids are hey harry potter kids, star war kids. they use these passions as codebreakers to crack the codes of themselves, their place in the world action their identity. >> reporter: a lesson for parents of children with autism who worry their kids are too obsessed with certain subjects. it can be a good thing, says dr. la landa. >> if you take those interests but just wiggle a little further away from them, slowly but surely, you can bring in new experiences for children.
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>> reporter: one of those new experiences, real-life interaction with an animated character. this broadway performance of "aladdin" was held specifically for people with autism. jonathan and his mom were eager to attend. >> usually when i go someplace, i'm all stressed out because jonathan is sometimes unpredictable with his behavior. here, i'm not worried at all. >> reporter: owen's love for "aladdin" was so infectious he won the heart of jonathan freeman, the voice of jaffar in the film, who now plays him on broadway. >> the idea has value. ♪ >> reporter: owen's also made other well-known friends. at the new york premiere of "life, animated," he joined his family in a sing-along with award-winning composer alan mankin, who wrote so many of owen's favorite tunes. today at 25, owen is working and living on his own. unlike peter pan, he's happily
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growing up. >> he changed. but he didn't become less. we just needed to learn who he was. ♪ >> reporter: for "nightline," i'm deborah roberts in new york. up next here, the event they call corgi-con. the queen of england not the only one with a soft spot for these little dogs.
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>> the event would not be complete without a costume contest, a surprise proposal, and of course feats of skill. but this is not just fun and games. the fund-raiser benefits dog rescue operations. something to bark about. i approve. even as a cat lover. thank you for watching "nightline." "gma" in the morning and as always online 24/7 at abcnews.com and on our "nightline" facebook page.
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