#AspiePower: People on the Autism Spectrum Share Their Stories

Younger and older people on the autism spectrum shared their stories with Brut to bust misinformation and stereotypes around the disorder. đź‘Ź

Greta Thunberg calls Autism her "Superpower"

Members of the autism community are taking on social media to raise awareness about the condition. Climate activist Greta Thunberg recently opened up about her Asperger's diagnosis after she was criticized over her autistic characteristics. The hashtags #aspiepower and #AutisticsForGreta then went viral. Many social media users on the autism spectrum took on the opportunity to share their personal stories. 1 in 160 children worldwide are diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder (effect) ASD according to the World Health Organization. But misinformation and stereotypes surrounding ASD still persist.

Autism, or autism spectrum disorder, refers to a broad range of conditions characterized by challenges with social skills, repetitive behaviors, speech and nonverbal communication. We know that there is not one autism but many subtypes, and each person with autism can have unique strengths and challenges. A combination of genetic and environmental factors influences the development of autism, and autism often is accompanied by medical issues such as GI disorders, seizures and sleep disturbances. Autism affects an estimated 1 in 59 children.

Though autism spectrum disorder can be reliably diagnosed by age 2 for most children, the average age of diagnosis in the United States is between 4 and 5. Early intervention is crucial; it can translate to a lifetime of impact by supporting healthy development, improving communication, decreasing challenging behaviors and leading to positive outcomes later in life. The CDC reports the overall prevalence of autism in the U.S. is 1 in 59 children, yet the reported prevalence among white children is 7 percent higher than African American children and 22 percent higher than Hispanic children – pointing to potential missed or delayed diagnosis in those groups according to Autism Speaks. Greta Thunberg is pretty busy saving the world, but she took a moment out of her busy schedule to talk about being autistic and to address haters who have been attacking her "looks and differences."