Greta Thunberg on Her Autism Diagnosis and Climate Activism

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27 Sep 2021, 8:27 am

Teen Vouge

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In a new interview with The Guardian, the 18-year-old activist also opened up a little about her personal life, particularly on the subject of her autism diagnosis, which she’s previously referred to as her “superpower.”

While speaking with Simon Hattenstone, Greta shared that being diagnosed with autism provided a great deal of relief for her. “When I felt the most sad, I didn’t know that I had autism,” she explained. “I just thought, I don’t want to be like this. The diagnosis was almost only positive for me. It helped me get the support I needed and made me understand why I was like this.”

In talking with The Guardian, Greta expanded on that idea, sharing how being autistic has helped her in the fight for climate justice. “A lot of people with autism have a special interest that they can sit and do for an eternity without getting bored,” she explained. “It’s a very useful thing sometimes. Autism can be something that holds you back, but if you get to the right circumstance, if you are around the right people, if you get the adaptations that you need and you feel you have a purpose, then it can be something you can use for good. And I think that I’m doing that now.”

In speaking with The Guardian, Greta added that she’s found solidarity among other climate activists, particularly other young activists who also have autism. “In the Fridays for Future movement, so many people are like me,” Greta explained, describing her fellow activists as “inclusive and welcoming.” She went on to explain the impact on her mental health of working alongside like-minded people, adding, “I know lots of people who have been depressed, and then they have joined the climate movement or Fridays for Future and have found a purpose in life and found friendship and a community that they are welcome in.”


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Professionally Identified and joined WP August 26, 2013
DSM 5: Autism Spectrum Disorder, DSM IV: Aspergers Moderate Severity.

“My autism is not a superpower. It also isn’t some kind of god-forsaken, endless fountain of suffering inflicted on my family. It’s just part of who I am as a person”. - Sara Luterman