Greta Thunberg opens up about Asperger’s diagnosis: ‘Being different is a superpower’

'I have Asperger's and that means I’m sometimes a bit different from the norm'

Sabrina Barr
Sunday 01 September 2019 11:50
Greta Thunberg lands in New York after crossing Atlantic by boat to minimise her carbon footprint

Environmental activist Greta Thunberg has opened up about her Asperger's diagnosis, explaining why she does not frequently speak publicly about living with the condition.

Earlier this week, Thunberg arrived in New York City after spending 15 days at sea in order to attend a climate change summit in the Big Apple.

On Saturday, days after her arrival in the city, the 16-year-old took to social media to address some of the malicious comments she has received with regards to her appearance and "being different".

"When haters go after your looks and differences, it means they have nowhere left to go. And then you know you're winning!" Thunberg wrote on Twitter and Instagram.

"I have Asperger's and that means I'm sometimes a bit different from the norm. And – given the right circumstances –being different is a superpower."

Thunberg continued, outlining that her reason for not being public about her diagnosis is not because she wishes to "hide" behind it, but because of how "ignorant people" may respond.

"I know many ignorant people still see it as an 'illness', or something negative. And believe me, my diagnosis has limited me before," the Swedish student stated.

"Before I started school striking I had no energy, no friends and I didn't speak to anyone. I just sat alone at home, with an eating disorder.

"All of that is gone now, since I have found a meaning, in a world that sometimes seems shallow and meaningless to so many people."

Thunberg concluded her Instagram caption with the hashtags "aspiepower", "neurodiverse" and "npf", the last of which stands for neuropsykiatriska funktionsnedsättningar (neurodevelopmental disorders) in Swedish.

Numerous social media users expressed their admiration for Thunberg's empowering message.

"Amen to that. Don't let anyone stop you on your quest. The world needs you!" Princess Martha Louise of Norway wrote on Instagram.

"You are giving this entire movement hope and wings," commented photographer and marine biologist Paul Nicklen.

Asperger syndrome is a condition which falls within the autism spectrum, Autism NI explains.

The National Autistic Society outlines that people who live with Asperger's "see, hear and feel the world differently to other people", and that they typically are "of average or above average intelligence".

Greta Thunberg arrives in New York after 15 days at sea

Following her arrival in Manhattan, Thunberg spoke to a crowd of supporters about the importance of continuing the fight against the "climate crisis".

"My message to all the activists is to just keep going, and I know it really may seem impossible and hopeless sometimes – it always does – so you just have to keep going because if you try hard enough and long enough you will make a difference," the public figure said.

"And, if enough people stand together and fight for the right thing anything can happen."

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