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Neurodiversity Through Film – Lilo & Stitch

Lilo & Stitch:

This movie is about a misunderstood Hawaiian girl named Lilo and how she makes a new family with a violent alien creation from outer space.

If one looks closely enough, it can be seen that Lilo is neurodivergent, specifically autistic. Because of that, she possesses several unique traits which make her stand out from others. Some traits include her different behavior and a level of maturity she possesses that many other folks her age do not.

Lilo’s quirks have resulted in her having to face stuff like rejection from kids her own age and how she is oftentimes not understood by neurotypical people like many adults in the film. Moreover, it does not really help that Lilo lost her parents, which really left a mark on her.

This puts her and the people around her who only want to help in a difficult state of mind and position. This is especially obvious when it comes to her older sister, Nani. After the deaths of their parents, Nani becomes Lilo’s only guardian. But it isn’t an easy job: in comparison to Lilo, Nani reads as far more neurotypical.

 Nani is still very young; of course, she doesn’t really know how to give Lilo the care and comfort she needs.

The movie also touches on the importance of family and how a true one would be a place where a person, even a neurodivergent one can receive the compassion and understanding they need. If they do not get that, then is it really family?

Sometimes different problems require different solutions and Lilo gets this in the form of Stitch, an alien creation designed only for chaos and destruction.

However, over time, Stitch becomes more than what he was created for; he becomes exactly what Lilo needed in her life. In a way, Stitch is also neurodivergent. He, too, possesses traits and behaviors that are not understood by others, and so he is shunned for them. But Lilo tries to understand him, and one could argue that this mutual effort is what really makes them family.


Editors Note:Film is being screened in the Stone Hall Coffee House on 10/30 from 8 to 10pm

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