Ian Somerhalder in an impassioned tweet applauds Nikki Reed’s new documentary film ‘Think Normal’. ‘Wow I am so profoundly moved right now. After my eyes dry and my mind settles, I realize the amount of compassion, love, insight and skill it took to put this together. This story and stories like it need to be told and this #iamnikkireed is why people connect to you and love you. Never stop spreading this amount of love, compassion, as well as intellect and showing us the raw human condition through your acting, directing, writing or producing. Story telling enriches our lives in a very, very, profound way. You should be so proud and I’m grateful-we’re all grateful to see this story, hear it’s message and take so very much from it….http:espn.go.com/video/clip?id=11260612 Congratulations Love Ian.’
It is a heart renching and absorbing film , told mostly through the eyes of his mother and older brother- it chronicles the livelong selfless struggle of a mother coming to grips with her child’s autism and challenging him to be ‘normal’ helps him find his niche. Debbie McElwain noticed that her youngest son Josh did not respond as other children do and at two months was diagnosed as autistic. She was told he would never talk or walk and she would lay in bed at night every night thinking what she could do next to help her son and then act on it. He did finally speak “Big Bird’ while watching ‘Sesame Street with his big brother. Speech therapy helped a great deal and he finally had enough self-esteem to be able to make a friend. He wanted to do everything that his big brother did who was heavily into everything sports. What happens next is as they say ‘is history’.
Ian Somerhalder’s Foundation has its own youth empowerment program. The U-Factor is a seminar that helps kids find their niche by identifying their passions and aiding them in discovering pathways for these interests. They had their ‘pilot event’ November 2, 2013 in Atlanta, Georgia and it was a huge success.