With January 20th hosting International Day of Acceptance, a day to pay tribute to those living with disabilities and its founder Annie Hopkins, it is important to highlight those in our community like Ms. Hopkins who made it a life’s mission to accomplish awareness for individuals with a disability. She proved that a person with a disability can accomplish anything.
Greta Thunberg is a Swedish teenager with Asperger Syndrome, a condition on the Autism spectrum, but more importantly, she is an international climate activist. Greta travels around the world to speak at conventions and to elected officials to change the current pace of our climate issue.
Time.com reports that Greta has become the youngest person to receive the coveted Person of the Year honor. She was also the first person with Autism to win the award. Her heartfelt plea to the members of the United Nations was heard around the world. Thunberg has called for a reform of climate policies.
Regarding her Autism, Greta explains her Autism as something far from a disability in a recent article posted on the www.guardian.com, she is quoted as saying:
Before starting her climate action campaign she had “no energy, no friends and I didn’t speak to anyone. I just sat alone at home, with an eating disorder.”
She said she had not been open about her diagnosis of being on the autism spectrum in order to “hide” behind it, but because she knew “many ignorant people still see it as an ‘illness’, or something negative”. “When haters go after your looks and differences, it means they have nowhere left to go. And then you know you’re winning!” she wrote, using the hashtag #aspiepower.
While acknowledging that her diagnosis has limited her before, she said it “sometimes makes me a bit different from the norm” and she sees being different as a “superpower”.
Greta describes her disability as a superpower. In an interview with PEOPLE, she said:
“Being different is a good thing… It’s something we should aspire to be.”
And Greta is right! Let’s remember to embrace disabilities and use our power to spread the word and like Greta, save the world!