How beautiful it is to hear Greta Thunberg talk about autism as a gift. The 16-year-old is making waves with her quietly assured and authoritative speeches about global warming and her openness about her autism.
“I see the world a bit different, from another perspective,” she said in a New Yorker interview. “It’s very common that people on the autism spectrum have a special interest. … I can do the same thing for hours.” Thunberg discovered her special interest in climate change when she was just 9 years old, and she couldn’t understand why everyone on the planet wasn’t similarly obsessed with preventing it.
You most probably have read many stories about this inspirational young girl in the past few months and we don’t want to discuss her work on climate emergency. We just want to celebrate a young person who credits her special talent, leadership skills and determination to her autism. A few years ago, her ascent to fame likely would have been framed in the media as that of an inspiring young girl “overcoming” her disability to become the leader of a worldwide movement. But Thunberg herself thinks differently, she says that she became an activist not in spite of her autism but because of it.
“Being different is a gift. 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.”
Her words resonate with us as the AET programme has always been championing a positive approach to autism. We believe that autism is a difference, not a deficit.