Michele Cohen Marill l Wired l 11/7/1
Sixteen-year-old Swedish activist Greta Thunberg is the symbol of a climate change generation gap, a girl rebuking adults for their inaction in preventing a future apocalypse. Thunberg’s riveting speech at the UN’s Climate Action Summit has been viewed more than 2 million times on YouTube, and she was considered a viable contender for the Nobel Peace Prize.
In a tweet, Thunberg explained what made her so fearless: “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. #aspiepower.”
People with Asperger’s applaud the way she reframed a “disorder,” as it used to be called in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, into an asset. But Thunberg’s comments also fuel a lingering debate about whether Asperger’s even exists as a distinct condition—and if it doesn’t, why people are still so attached to the designation.