A Swedish school girl, 16-year-old Greta Thunberg, a climate campaigner, is certainly different.
She said: “When I started school at four, I was already reading my parents’ books. At six, my mum, upon telling the teacher that I was currently reading Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and could I carry on with that instead of Billy Blue Hat, was sneered at by a parent-governor and told, “don’t worry, we’ll bring her down a peg or two.”
At eleven after comprehensive cognitive psychiatric examinations, an educational psychiatrist recommended that she attend a school for gifted children. No more information followed, till Greta found herself sitting in her doctor’s surgery three years later after a breakdown.
She poured out to her doctor: “I can’t cope with noise, light, crowds, people, new situations, surprises, T-junctions, and I feel like my head is full of angry wasps and sometimes I get so overwhelmed by the world I just want to die. I don’t want to die, I’m not suicidal, but I just want the wasps to be quiet.”
The doctor looked through her notes and inquired if anyone had told her she was autistic. Greta sat and gazed at her, who passed her a bunch of resources to examine.
Greta adds: “I have always been an oddball. I was a loner at school, and largely still am, preferring to shut myself away with my work and books than go to parties. I am frequently told by men that I am aggressive and difficult, awkward, and unapproachable.”
Not too long ago when she visited Britain and delivered a speech to the House of Parliament on climate change, Spiked’s Brendan O’Neill attacked her for being a “millenarian weirdo with a monotone voice.”
The article’s author, Jack Monroe, admits: “It took 24 years for me to harness my autistic traits into something useful, and I have grown to regard them as a kind of superpower. Cooking, to me, is akin to algebra, and my mind a pocket calculator. Readers send me photos of insides of their kitchen cupboards, and I will instantly send back a menu plan.”