Climate activist Greta Thunberg’s even more inspiring message: Asperger’s is her ‘superpower’


Jorge L. Ortiz USA TODAY Published 6:51 a.m. ET Sept. 27, 2019 | Updated 9:36 a.m. ET Sept. 27, 2019

In her address at a United Nations climate summit earlier this week, 16-year-old activist Greta Thunberg said she should be back in Sweden attending school instead of chastising world leaders for their inaction on climate change.

Amanda McCarthy of Acton, Massachusetts, thinks back to when she was that age and can barely contain her amazement. That’s a common reaction to watching such a precocious teenager on the world stage, but McCarthy shares a trait with Thunberg that paints a fuller picture.

They both have Asperger’s, a neurological disorder characterized by difficulty with social and communication skills. It’s considered within the range of the autism spectrum, although those with Asperger’s typically have normal language development and normal-to-high IQs, so they’re regarded as “high functioning.’’

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