neurodivergence

A Little Thing About Steed, Emma, Neurodivergence, and Trusting the Process

Recently my fellow tumblr celluloidbroomcloset made some postings about Steed making models to figure out what’s happening in Winged Avenger, and Emma’s responses to that activity. I followed up with one about him making diagrams in Murder Market, and then the following ideas kinda happened:

Sometimes Steed really needs that hands-on, tactile, kinetic way of solving problems. If we accept my headcanon that Steed is ADHD, he probably has so many different ideas blossoming in his head at once that he can’t corral them without creating something concrete that he can latch his ideas onto. Making the model of the building or graphing the murders is a way for him to streamline his thoughts and get them into some semblance of order. Therefore those methods are necessary for him, even if ultimately they don’t provide the key to solving the case.

I think Emma understands this. Yes, she thinks it’s cute that he builds models and makes graphs, but she’s not mocking him for needing to do that just because she doesn’t. She understands that his brain works differently from hers, and that whereas she can just puzzle stuff out logically in her head, Steed sometimes needs to draw pictures or use tools or make models before he can get to the place that Emma already starts from.

Steed doesn’t feel ashamed of having to make graphs or models as part of settling in to a case, and he’s not wasting time by doing those things. Yes, those activities do take time, and they don’t directly lead to the solution to the case, but if he refused to do them at all because he was worried about it seeming weird or stupid or tangential he’d only make himself miserable and the process would take even longer and be even less productive.

Steed probably doesn’t know that he’s ADHD, because that diagnosis didn’t exist back then. But he does know what he needs to do to solve a problem, so that’s what he does. Emma understands that, and accommodates it. She helps him when she can, but mostly she just sits back and waits for him to be ready to go on to the next step, which she does without impatience and with the presumption of Steed’s competence to know what works best for him. In the meantime, Emma pursues her own leads, knowing that Steed will make his own important contributions to the case in his own way.


originally posted on sparklywaistcoat
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Avenging for Autism Acceptance

So I’ve started putting together images and captions connecting Avengers and Autism $peaks’ annual trolling for contributions. I’m going to add one every day them occasionally through the month of April. I won’t be making these separate blogs, just updating this one accordingly.

Off we go, then.

(Wondering why Autism $peaks is bad? Don’t take my word for it. Check this out instead.)

17 april

silentdust.hatsacrilegeAnd Steed was all, “VACCINES. DO. NOT. CAUSE. AUTISM.”

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A PSA for “Autism Awareness” Month

So hey, all y’all out there in blog-land: It’s almost April, so you know what that means! Autism $peaks is gonna be asking y’all to Light It Up Blue.

Therefore I am here to ask you to just not.

Please don’t do it.

But why? you ask.

This is because

  • Autism $peaks is a hate group whose work actively harms autistic people
  • They advocate for the use of ABA (Applied Behavior Analysis), which is a form of abuse that leaves most autistics who undergo it with bad cases of PTSD
  • They treat autism as a tragedy and a disease that must be eradicated at all costs
  • When an autistic child is murdered by their parents, they sympathise with the parents
  • There are no autistic people on their board, and when autistic people ask them to change what they do, they refuse
  • They support the work of the Judge Rothenberg Center, which uses electroshock and other “treatments” that are little more than torture
  • They refuse to acknowledge that autism is a valid way of being and instead work towards the erasure of autism and autistics by insisting on looking for “cures” (PSA: there is no “cure” for autism; it’s a neurology, not a disease)
  • The blue color is taken from the fact that boys are more likely to be diagnosed with autism, not because autism actually affects more boys but because the diagnostic criteria don’t acknowledge the way autism presents in girls (PSA: it presents differently in girls than in boys in a lot of cases) so on top of all the other wonderful things they do, they’re sexist
  • Only about 4% of the money they raise goes to actually benefitting actual autistic people

So please, please, please:

Don’t light it up blue.

We’re not colored lights.

We’re not puzzle pieces.

We’re not tragedies.

We’re not diseased.

We don’t need to be “cured.”

We’re autistic. Our brains work differently, that’s all.

And we’re just as human as anybody else.

Thanks.

Neurodivergence in The Avengers, Part 3: Neurodivergent Steed?


This is the third installment in a three-part blog. Please refer to Part 1 for the premise of my argument and important background information. You can read Part 2 here.

So now we arrive at the pièce de résistance: Neurodivergent Steed. For some time now, I have had a headcanon that Steed is neurodivergent, albeit not autistic. Specifically, I think he has attention deficit disorder/attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADD/ADHD). Although the word “disorder” is incorporated into these diagnoses, it’s important to keep in mind that these are forms of neurodivergence, and therefore some of the many kinds of variation in the human neurotype: they are not mental illnesses.

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Neurodivergence in The Avengers, Part 2: Professor Poole in “Winged Avenger”


This is the second installment in a three-part blog. Please refer to Part 1 for the premise of my argument and important background information.

Someone has been scaling the walls of very tall buildings, breaking windows, and then shredding to death the people they find in the rooms they invade. Steed and Mrs Peel follow a chain of clues that lead them to one Professor Poole (played by Jack MacGowran), an inventor whose work may have made those murders possible. They drive out to the professor’s country house in order to interview him, but noone answers the doorbell. This is because the professor is out on the grounds jumping around and flapping a large set of what look like bat wings. He bounds towards the house as Steed and Mrs Peel look on.

neurodivergence-wingedavenger-01

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Neurodivergence in The Avengers, Part 1: Hickey in “Hour That Never Was”

The Avengers is a quirky show full of quirky characters. Many of these are common-or-garden eccentrics, people who unabashedly love what they love and don’t care what anyone else thinks about either them or their hobby. But a few of these characters exhibit additional traits strongly suggesting that their behavior might have its origins in something beyond being a little odd or having a passion for a particular activity. Two in particular, Hickey in “Hour That Never Was” and Professor Poole in “Winged Avenger” behave in ways that indicate (to me, at least) that these characters might be neurodivergent in some way. There are also hints dropped throughout the series that Steed might himself be neurodivergent.

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