Safe Room, Premiering on Lifetime, Features Actually Autistic Actor, Nik Sanchez

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This Saturday, on the 15th, Lifetime will be premiering Safe Room, a thriller that centers on recently widowed Lila Jackson (Nicole Ari Parker) and her 14-year-old autistic son Ian (Nik Sanchez).  Since the death of her husband, Lila is grateful for their kind neighbor Neil (Boris Kodjoe), who looks out for them.  After Ian accidentally witnesses a break-in in the house across the street and records the horrific murder of the homeowner, Lila becomes embroiled in a deadly struggle to protect her son from intruders Dominic (Mackenzie Astin) and Rocco (Drea De Matteo), who will stop at nothing to retrieve the video evidence of the crime and silence them. Hiding and trapped in a makeshift panic room created by her late husband, Lila and Ian must use all of their strength and intelligence to outsmart the intruders to save themselves.

This movie looks amazing, and I love that Nik Sanchez is actually autistic. When my son was first diagnosed with autism 10 years ago, I remember watching tv and wondering why there weren’t more shows on tv with families like ours. And as the years went on, and more autistic characters started popping up, I realized how important it is to have authenticity in the characters.

A huge shout out to Lifetime who worked with the organization RespectAbility in the review of the script to ensure as much authenticity as possible in the portrayal of Ian. And for casting actually autistic actors to place autistic roles.

RespectAbility is a diverse, disability-led nonprofit that works to create systemic change in how society views and values people with disabilities, and that advances policies and practices that empower people with disabilities to have a better future. Their mission is to fight stigmas and advance opportunities so people with disabilities can fully participate in all aspects of community.

Nik has played several autistic roles in his career including his role in Our Christmas Journey, where he starred alongside Holly Pete Robinson.

I am so excited to see this movie!

Tune in with me on Saturday, January 15th at 8p/7c! And follow me on Instagram at Finding Cooper’s Voice as I share thoughts and opinions on my story! I’d love to hear yours as well.

Written by, Kate Swenson

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Kate Swenson

Kate Swenson lives in Minnesota with her husband Jamie, and four children, Cooper, Sawyer, Harbor and Wynnie. Kate launched Finding Cooper's Voice from her couch while her now 11-year-old son Cooper was being diagnosed with autism. Back then it was a place to write. Today it is a living, thriving community of people who want to not only advocate for autism, but also make the world a better place for individuals with disabilities and their families. Her first book, Forever Boy, will be released, April 5, 2022.

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