Greta Thunberg Calls It Her Superpower; What Is Asperger’s?

Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg has, in a series of tweets, responded to critics who commented on her Asperger’s diagnosis.

The 16-year-old, whose Twitter bio reads “climate activist with Asperger’s’, said,

"“When haters go after your looks and differences, it means they have nowhere left to go. And then you know you’re winning! 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. #asiepower”"

Also Read: Scientists Discover New Prospect of Treating Autism

She also added, “I'm not public about my diagnosis to ‘hide’ behind it, but because I know many ignorant people still see it as an "illness", or something negative. And believe me, my diagnosis has limited me before.”

What is Asperger’s Syndrome?

In conversation with FIT, Dr Praveen Gupta, Director and HOD of Neurology at Fortis Gurugram, explained that Asperger’s is an autism spectrum disorder where a child, who is otherwise growing normally, has a problem in social interaction. They have problems interacting with their siblings and in socially relating to others, so they stay among themselves.

"“Unlike other children with autism disorders who are low in IQ, those with Asperger’s have a good IQ. But there are other behavioral problems that can show themselves in social awkwardness or anger outbursts, for instance.”" - Dr Praveen Gupta

In an earlier article, FIT had mentioned a few ways in which the syndrome affects a person:

  • Communication becomes a struggle.
  • Difficulty in understanding non-verbal communication like body language or voice tone)
  • Average or above average intelligence
  • Depression
  • Social awkwardness

If these ring a bell, Shahrukh Khan’s character from My Name is Khan had the same developmental disorder.

Dr Gupta adds that the syndrome can be diagnosed with a questionnaire based testing where the child’s behavior is evaluated. If it is observed that the child is behaving poorly in social skills, then we could qualify him/her in one spectrum disorder.

Therapy for the syndrome is a long and consistent procedure. “The condition stays with the person and requires treatment over years. Cognitive behavior therapy is the common course of treatment, but depending on the severity of symptoms, other measures like antipsychotic medication or stimulants for hyperactivity could be administered”, he adds.

Also Read: Meet Pranav Bakhshi, India’s First Male Model with Autism

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