Asperger’s does not limit potential

Our babies diagnosed with Asperger’s, and those self-advocates diagnosed with Asperger’s, don’t look at life in terms of limits. We look at possibilities and potential. We seek out ways we can contribute to this world and make it better not only for us but for others. Special needs is a misnomer. What it really means is our community needs are special compared to the neuro-typical and non-disabled community.

But let’s set aside the comparison for a moment and focus on how much we have common. We can simply look to the accomplishments of Greta Thunberg and see that although she is diagnosed with Asperger’s syndrome it does not mean she cannot make the same (or even greater) impact as someone who is not diagnosed. Like any other human being she used her passion to shed light on an important topic. Her focus and determination inspired many others to speak out and share their concern about climate change.

About Greta, Asperger’s is just one part of why she is

But, this is not about politics or where you stand in the climate debate. This is about recognizing that having an Asperger’s diagnosis does not limit ability. Being diagnosed is simply an acknowledgement of how you interact with the world and process information. According to Time

Thunberg is 16 but looks 12. She usually wears her light brown hair pulled into two braids, parted in the middle. She has Asperger’s syndrome, which means she doesn’t operate on the same emotional register as many of the people she meets. She dislikes crowds; ignores small talk; and speaks in direct, uncomplicated sentences. She cannot be flattered or distracted. She is not impressed by other people’s celebrity, nor does she seem to have interest in her own growing fame. But these very qualities have helped make her a global sensation. Where others smile to cut the tension, Thunberg is withering. Where others speak the language of hope, Thunberg repeats the unassailable science: Oceans will rise. Cities will flood. Millions of people will suffer.

We all have the opportunity, and ability, to be the change we want to see in the world.


Support Groups: Howard County Autism Society

What are the symptoms of autism in a 3-year-old?

Disabilities jargon: What is stimming behavior?

Disabilities jargon: Sensory processing disorder

Therapy: What is sensory integration therapy? Is sensory integration better than ABA?

Demystifying developmental disabilities: Say no to the “R word”, understanding intellectual disability


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External Resources

Autism Society

Mayo Clinic

Genetics Home Reference – NIH

Support program: Autism Sibling Support Initiative

Support program: Sibling Support Project

Maryland Developmental Disabilities Council

Maryland Early Intervention and Special Education Services

Administration for Community Living

Pathfinders for Autism

Disability Scoop

Maryland Preschool Special Education