Teen Climate Activist Greta Thunberg Responds To Critics About Her Asperger’s Diagnosis: ‘It’s A Superpower’

Climate change activist Greta Thunberg speaks at a press conference before setting sail for New York in the 60ft Malizia II yacht from Mayflower Marina, on August 14, 2019 in Plymouth, England.
Finnbarr Webster / Getty Images

Greta Thunberg is speaking out against those who have criticized her Asperger’s diagnosis, saying that while she may be “different,” she considers the diagnosis to be her “superpower,” reported The Guardian.

The teen climate activist, known for being the face of the school climate strike movement, opened up on Twitter about her life prior to becoming an activist. Stating that she was depressed, had no friends, and sat on the couch all day with an eating disorder, the Swedish native went on to talk specifically about her diagnosis.

The 16-year-old tells her followers that she isn’t open about her Asperger’s diagnosis in an attempt to hide behind it, but rather because she knows that people view it negatively and think of autism as an illness.

“When haters go after your looks and differences, it means they have nowhere left to go. And then you know you’re winning! I have Aspergers and that means I’m sometimes a bit different from the norm. And – given the right circumstances- being different is a superpower.”

Greta was diagnosed with Asperger’s four years ago and recently spoke out about it this past summer after Australian News Corp columnist Andrew Bolt wrote an offensive column about her, mocking the diagnosis.

In the article, Bolt writes about Greta’s mental health, calling her “deeply disturbed” and criticizing her choice to sail across the Atlantic Ocean on a solar-powered yacht to attend the United Nations Climate Summit in New York City.

Bolt writes, “she refuses to fly and heat the planet with an aeroplane’s global warming gasses.”

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In the climate activist’s response to the columnist, she uses his own words to get her point across, tweeting that she is in fact “deeply disturbed” about the fact that the hate and conspiracy campaigns are allowed to go on just because children communicate and act on the science. She ends the tweet with, “Where are the adults?”

Asperger’s syndrome, named after Austrian pediatrician Hans Asperger, is a developmental disorder characterized by difficulties in social interaction and nonverbal communication, including difficulties in reading and interpreting body language. It became part of the autism spectrum in 2013.

In the past, Greta has acknowledged that her passion for climate change is in part due to her black-and-white perception of the world, a common characteristic of Asperger’s, according to The Guardian.

“It makes me see things from outside the box. I don’t easily fall for lies, I can see through things. If I would’ve been like everyone else, I wouldn’t have started this school strike for instance.”