HomeADHDWreck It Ralph and Invisible Disability

Last night, my husband and I watched Wreck It Ralph. Again.

What? It’s a great feel good movie, and we both needed something to lift our spirits.

Very cute movie. The game looks cute
too.
The Conmunity, [CC BY-SA 2.0], via flickr

Anyway, it’s one of those movies that is so highly detailed, well thought out and executed that every time you watch it, you notice new elements. As usual, Vanellope’s role is the one I resonated the most strongly with.

There are just so many elements to her story that reflected my own as a dyslexic kid growing up, that I knew there had to be some sort of connection in the creative team behind her. Naturally, I took to the search engines.

Unsurprisingly, a lot of other viewers spotted similarities between Vanellope’s story and their own. Some of these folks also had dyslexia, but their neurological and physical identities were extremely varied. The basic thing they all had in common was the unique experience of invisible disability.

As I continued my reading, I discovered that the characters in this movie continued developing over the course of two years, and came to take on some of the features of their voice actors. According to this article, quite a bit of Vanellope’s character was inspired by the book, “The Bedwetter”, by Sarah Silverman, who later voiced the character. Sarah has struggled with depression, which is common but misunderstood, much like the issues I blog about regularly.

This background research has changed the take away from the movie a bit for me.

Selfish as it might be, the first take away is always, “Hey, that’s just like me!” It’s human nature, what can I say?

Now, it’s an overall commonality with the larger community of invisible disabilities, in that we all face similar experiences of isolation, otherness and a longing for inclusion. We’ve all experienced set backs and heartbreaks at the hands of well meaning people, and we’ve also experienced our own triumphs, no matter of how small they may be.

However, Vanellope’s success in turning her “disability” into an advantage is something especially true to the LD/ASD/ADHD-type community.

That final message is sorely lacking in the mainstream world. There’s no cure. There’s no need for a cure. We’re fundamentally unique individuals from the start, and that’s not well understood. “Normal” isn’t the only way to be, and that’s more than ok.

Our differences remain with us long past childhood years, and we can turn them into amazing advantages if given the chance.

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