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Neurodiversity Through Film – The Willoughbys


The Willoughby’s

The movie The Willoughby’s has children who can perhaps be seen as neurodivergent or at least live in an environment that plays a key role in neurodivergence.

There are five Willoughby children in the film; Tim, Jane, twins both named Barnaby, and a recently adopted baby dubbed Ruth. These children display some behaviors that could be considered neurodivergent. For example, Tim’s need to be an adult, mature, and superior to his rotten parents to restore the Willoughby family legacy… and his obsession with having a mustache. Jane possesses a passion for and has remarkable ability to sing with her own unique lyrics. The Barnaby twins are described as “creepy” in the film and surely act quirky a lot. Finally, these children are very inexperienced with the outside world thanks to their abused life, not knowing how things really work and often show behavior not like neurotypical children, for example, how they wanted to kill their bad parents. Despite this, the Willoughby children are good-natured and far better than their parents, the latter being a disgrace to the Willoughby name.

If not that, this film also showcases one of the worst environments for any kind of child, especially neurodivergent ones; an abusive environment with parents, caretakers, and/or family members who do not care at all about their kids. Ironically, this same environment can lead to all sorts of neurodivergent behaviors as well. Abuse and trauma can have a tremendous effect on the neurology of children which can change/influence them in the neurodivergent sense.

The story revolves around the Willoughby family which originally had a rich history and loving bonds. All this ended for a time, however, with the emergence of two Willoughby’s known only as Father & Mother who are absolute morons and treated their children like dirt, the Willoughby kids do their best to survive in the wretched household they live in.

During this movie, the Willoughby kids go on a wild adventure after they adopt an orphan, try to send their bad parents away to death to orphan themselves, and then meet two adults; a nanny named Linda and a candy man named Commander Melanoff, who in the end, become their new, true family. Touching on the importance of having a loving and caring family, which is something that any child like neurodivergent and/or abused ones absolutely need to have in their lives.

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