Kodi Lee and Greta Thunberg: Autistics in the Media. A tale of two ableisms.7 min read

Two autistic voices have risen to promi­nence in the main­stream media: Greta Thunberg, teen cli­mate change activist, and Kodi Lee, the blind autistic musi­cian and singer who recently won the pop­ular show, America’s Got Talent.

Both of these autistic young people are amazing, but this article isn’t about them or their achieve­ments.  This article is about the reac­tion from the gen­eral public and my autistic per­spec­tive about those reac­tions.

I want to talk about how social biases regarding autistic people are wrong and why.  There’s a lot of dis­con­nect between the lan­guage of the autistic com­mu­nity (autistic people), the autism com­mu­nity (family mem­bers of autis­tics and pro­fes­sionals who work with autis­tics), and the main­stream (people with no sig­nif­i­cant con­nec­tion to autism).

One of the first things someone entering the autistic com­mu­nity will realize is that no one uses the phrases “high func­tioning,” “low func­tioning,” “mild,” or “severe” to describe autistic people.  They will talk about the severity of cer­tain traits, like hyper­a­cusis (extreme sen­si­tivity to sound) or exec­u­tive dys­func­tion (impaired ability to orga­nize, plan, and per­form com­plex, multi-step tasks).

Or, one might come across autis­tics dis­cussing among them­selves how severely dis­abling some­thing related to being autistic is.  They may say that their social anx­iety is severely dis­abling, or their apraxia (dis­rupted ability to coor­di­nate motor move­ments of the mouth for speech or the body for gross and fine motor move­ments) is severely impacting their ability to work.

But, what you won’t see is dis­cus­sion of how “autistic” these traits make someone.  There’s no sep­a­ra­tion of “mild” or “severe.”  Being autistic means you have cer­tain dif­fer­ences from the neural majority and that those dif­fer­ences don’t make you more or less autistic.

Career or not, rela­tion­ship or not, independently-living or not, co-occurring con­di­tions, etc.– none of that mat­ters in the autistic com­mu­nity.  What you are is what you are. We under­stand we have dif­ferent strug­gles and strengths, and we talk about our rela­tion to those specif­i­cally, but never how that makes someone “more” or “less” autistic.

Because if Kodi Lee were online, you wouldn’t be able to tell him apart from the rest of us.  His lim­ited speech and atyp­ical inflec­tion, the com­pul­sive way he laughs after speaking many times, are not reflec­tive of his under­standing or ability to con­struct sen­tences.

Not being able to pro­duce reli­able speech doesn’t mean someone isn’t able to under­stand words and com­pli­cated ideas.  They’re just not always able to ver­bally com­mu­ni­cate flu­ently because that requires coor­di­na­tion of sev­eral parts of the brain and the motor move­ments to reg­u­late volume, pitch, speed, and tone.

Sometimes, the words come out close to what the speaker intended. For example, during Kodi Lee’s audi­tion for the show, he answered the ques­tion about what he was going to be doing by saying, “I’m going to sing a song for you… on the piano.”

For this same reason, many autis­tics are unable to speak at all, but that doesn’t mean they can’t under­stand lan­guage and com­mu­ni­cate in a dif­ferent way.

A lot of people like Kodi Lee who have atyp­ical speech prefer to write or type first and then read what they have typed aloud because that is easier for them than spon­ta­neous speech.

Many non­speakers and those with unre­li­able speech are pro­lific writers.

But Greta Thunberg has rel­a­tively typ­ical speech.  She can get con­founded, lose her train of thought, and make atyp­ical facial expres­sions, too.  In this video, espe­cially in the second half, she begins to lose her focus and is strug­gling to find the words at times.

For an autistic person, this is totally normal.  Autistic people watch this and under­stand.  We get it.  We don’t filter out all the back­ground noise and move­ment, so busy envi­ron­ments like that, plus fatigue, make it hard to focus. 

You’ll also notice that she begins to stim more with her hands.  Stimming is repet­i­tive move­ments or sounds that autistic people do to help them stay reg­u­lated.  Kodi Lee rocks back and forth as a stim.

But let’s walk through some some of the reac­tions to Kodi and Greta. First, look at how people dis­cussed Kodi’s par­ents versus how they dis­cussed Greta’s par­ents:

[Warning: many comments referenced in this article contain disturbing ableism. Reader discretion advised.]

Kodi Lee’s Parents

tweet reads: Way to make all of us proud but as a mom of a son with autism you give me hope. Thank you. Shine on

tweet reads: Can we take a second to appreciate the AMAZING woman that is @Kodileerocks mom!? She is the greatest support system and she and Kodi are bringing so much positive attention to autism It’s honestly really touching to see.tweet reads: AMAZING!! #KodiLee #AGTPremiere God bless his mom for finding his outlet #autism and to Kodi.. you are truly an inspiration!! @BandRs_Mom

Greta Thunberg’s Parents

tweet reads: ‘Where are the parents’? Greta Thunberg’s ‘disturbing’ rant at U.N. Climate Action Summit suggests she’s been thoroughly terrorized

Tweet from @nikolovScience that reads Greta is a clueless autistic child, who should not be blamed for her actions. It's her parents and other adults nefariously manipulating her vulnerable psyche and taking advantage of her undeveloped mind, who need legally be prosecuted for psychological child abuse.

Tweet reads: Greta Thunberg is mentally ill & is being used by her parents & the UN (IMHO). "After years of depression, eating disorders & anxiety attacks, she finally receives a medical diagnosis: Asperger’s syndrome, high-functioning autism, & OCD. She also suffers from selective mutism."

Facial Expressions and Body Language:

Kodi Lee and Greta Thunberg both have facial expres­sion dif­fer­ences from what neu­rotyp­i­cals expect when they are inter­acting with each other.  Most people com­mu­ni­cate more through tone, body lan­guage, facial expres­sions, and impli­ca­tions than they do through spoken words.

But autistic people don’t.  Many autis­tics have less neural and motor con­trol of our facial expres­sions and the move­ments of our bodies, and we’re often unaware of what our faces and bodies do when we’re com­mu­ni­cating.

If an autistic per­son’s speech is as dif­ferent as Kodi Lee’s, then their dif­ferent man­ner­isms are over­looked or excused because they are seen as being “severely affected.”  If an autistic person has speech that is fluent like Greta’s, then those same atyp­ical facial expres­sions are seen as men­acing or a sign of mental ill­ness.

Though Kodi Lee has very dif­ferent facial expres­sions com­pared to most people, I tried over 50 dif­ferent com­bi­na­tions of search queries on Twitter and found no ref­er­ences to them, but there were over 100,000 Tweets talking about Greta’s autistic facial expres­sions.

Here are a few:

Tweet reads: #Greta clearly has mental health issues. This poor girl needs to take a break. The left and globalists are using her like the Nazi's did with girls promoting their propaganda. You only need to see her facial expressions that she is in a meltdown. Sad!

How 16-year-old Greta Thunberg's rise could backfire on environmentalists https://cnb.cx/2mSsiBT THIS YOUNG TEEN IS SERIOUSLY MENTALLY ILL. LOOK AT HER FACE? FILLED WITH HATE AND ANGUISH. THE WORLD ISN'T COMING TO AN END, HONEY. NOT YOUR FAULT YOUR PARENTS ARE SICK BASTARDS.

Sick young people. Shame on the parents that want to profit off of their messed kids. That girl needs to be in LD classes and receiving counseling. She looks sick physically and mentally. The hate on her face is repulsive.

Greta, honi, you must listen please look at your face on this link; You know best ask your, close friends? If your face does not show these signs normally, you are showing early signs medically of damage, call Dr. Yun Wang near Seattle, show him this tape!

Other words used to describe Greta’s facial expres­sions: fiendish, deranged, crazy, psycho, dis­turbed, plastic, sick, mental, and a few words I won’t dig­nify by repeating them.

Even the United States President weighed in with a mocking jab:

donald trump tweets She seems like a very happy young girl looking forward to a bright and wonderful future. So nice to see!

Kodi and Greta: On Fame

Another way to see the dif­fer­ences in how Kodi and Greta have been regarded by the gen­eral pop­u­la­tion is in how people talk about fame.  Here is what people had to say about Kodi on the sub­ject:

Tweet reads: Amazing voice he [ kodi lee ] will be famous and live very comfortably. "Blind and autistic singer kodi lee's performance warms hearts at America's Got Talent."Kodi Lee: Blind Autistic Singer WOWS And Gets GOLDEN BUZZER! | America's... https://youtu.be/DAPkOxRnh4c via @YouTube This man deserves to live a golden life. He deserves the fame and the riches that come to him. He is absolutely amazing. This shows everyone deserves a chance.

tweet reads: Who is the most impressive famous person alive today? Why? — Kodi Lee

By all stan­dards, Kodi Lee deserves these com­ments.  They are sup­portive and won­derful, and autistic people need sup­port from non-autistic folk.  Thank you to those who sup­ported and voted for Kodi.  In Kodi’s case, he did implic­itly ask for votes, and so people sup­ported him the way he asked to be sup­ported.  That’s ideal for autis­tics.

Here’s what people have to say about Greta’s fame:

I don't know whether it's her millionaire opera singer mother, her millionaire actor/director father, her millionaire Disney employed grandfather or billionaire Al Gore that's put teenage Asperger's sufferer Greta Thunberg in the limelight thinking people won't be cruel to her?greta-8

image of a tweet that reads: The team behind Greta Thunberg should be ashamed of themselves. You’ve put her in the public eye and made her a celebrity. Celebrity is difficult enough for an adult. Making a child famous very rarely ends well. If you don’t believe me look at every child actor through history.

So Why the Difference in Reception?

One could make the argu­ment that Greta is being antag­o­nized because of con­tro­ver­sial polit­ical mes­saging.  Yes, that’s respon­sible for some of the antipathy against her.  On the other hand, some of the lack of antag­o­nism against Kodi Lee is because mar­gin­al­ized people have always been allowed and accepted to be enter­tainers and per­formers.

One need not look beyond the example of American foot­ball quar­ter­back Colin Kaepernick or bas­ket­ball great LeBron James to see what hap­pens when an enter­tainer points out oppres­sion or takes a stand on a social jus­tice issue.

But, in Greta’s case, the same autistic behav­iors that Kodi Lee exhibits are what are used against her to inval­i­date and insult her and to paint her par­ents as neg­li­gent.

Autistics know this plays out in life.  Kodi Lee is an adult, a twenty-two year old man, yet there is almost no men­tion of him without someone lauding his par­ents.  Believe me, as an autistic person, I appre­ciate his par­ents to the moon and back.  I could write whole arti­cles on what they did right.  They are amazing.

So are Greta’s par­ents, for the same rea­sons.

Autistic people are pas­sionate, and they’re not wired to be multi-taskers.  They are wired for spe­cial­iza­tion, to find a groove and hone it and go with it.  We dream of being the hero, just like everyone else and maybe more.  Not for fame, not for money, not for any­thing other than leaving an indelible mark on the world.

Kodi Lee may seem like he leads a tragic exis­tence to many people– and I’m sure he does suffer like all of the greatest people do– but he can do things only about 25 people in the world can do.  He has total audio­graphic memory recall.  He can remember every note to every song he’s ever heard and play it.  He has per­fect pitch.

Every person reading this is dis­abled com­pared to Kodi Lee.

Kodi’s mother has written about how Kodi was mis­er­able before finding him­self in music.  At the piano, it’s clear to anyone that a vis­ible shift and align­ment hap­pens for him.  Greta has expressed how mis­er­able she was before she found an avenue to put action to her pas­sions.

Even though Kodi dif­fers from Greta in that he is an adult, he is rarely men­tioned without his mother being men­tioned.  This is called infan­tiliza­tion, or treating a dis­abled adult like a child because they have a dis­ability. 

On the con­verse, Greta is treated as if being autistic is more like having a per­son­ality dis­order as opposed to a med­ical con­di­tion, as if her autistic nature and behav­iors are an attempt to get atten­tion. 

Her pas­sion, hyper­focus, and atyp­ical body lan­guage are not regarded as autistic behav­iors, but as signs of someone too fragile or too unre­li­able to be doing what she is doing.  The long pauses or lost trains of thought in her speech are seen as evi­dence of mental break­down instead of just being a normal part of being autistic and in an over­stim­u­lating envi­ron­ment.

But what makes Kodi and Greta both excep­tional is their indomitable will.  That is an autistic trait.  They are both doing what they are wired to do– defi­antly, against the status quo and social expec­ta­tions of what people are “sup­posed to do.”

Both Kodi and Greta are doing exactly what they are wired to do, and that kind of pas­sion being given room to grow– even if that space is made by elbowing through the fabric of society– is world-changing. 

Their autistic nature is a dis­ability.  Their autistic nature is great­ness.  Both of those truths can exist at the same time.

 

Stalk us

30 Comments

  1. This sums up so well the tri­umphs and the set­backs we face, based not on who we are, but on soci­ety’s per­cep­tions of who we are.

  2. I agree with every­thing you wrote here. It’s alarming to see the absolute vit­riol aimed at Greta. I dared post about her on my page and inad­ver­tently started a polit­ical sh*tstorm! But, Kodi Lee is alright because he’s an enter­tainer? No, that is biased and wrong.

  3. Also, “The hate on her face is repul­sive” refer­ring to Greta. Why is it repul­sive? Is she not allowed to show honest emo­tion? People do feel anger, rage, and hate. This is not a crim­inal act. If it was, Trump would have been arrested before he could take office! Double stan­dard!

  4. Such an inter­esting dialog which you’ve pre­sented herein Terra.
    Thank you for your insight.
    You write so direct and won­derful. Kudos!

    1. A month later…

      People shooting barbs at Greta and her Parents over the occa­sional anger in her speeches are missing the point. Anyone with her per­se­ver­ance deserves to get a bit angry when addressing global groups of Politicians doing nothing at all about a Changing Climate.

      Greta and her own activism is the reason why I was referred to your Aspergian site and dialog months ago. I am herein learning a lot about Autism which I for­merly knew nothing about, simply by reading people’s per­sonal sto­ries amid pointed mis­sives written by this site’s Founder. Thank you Terra for cre­ating this public dis­cus­sion…

      And little Greta? I think she is simply doing her own thing!!!

      I don’t believe that her Parents are guiding her nor writing her speeches. Greta’s Parents have changed their own habits, gone vegan, don’t fly in pol­luting jet air­planes any­more and have really learned Scientific Climate FACTS from their own young daughter who has formed her own opin­ions rel­a­tive to REAL & DIRE Consequences.

      Greta is no longer the little quiet Girl sit­ting in the back of the room. Her step­ping out to sit with her painted Sign on her Govt’s side­walk — was responded to “in like kind” by week #2 of her own Friday School Strike Protest. This is a little [for­merly quiet] Autistic Student who beat her own deep depres­sion by choosing to stand up for what she believed to be a warming, stormy earth crashing around her — while Politicians and Adults con­tinue doing nothing while this planet warms to its tip­ping point… There is NO Planet “B.”

      Smog is an OIL SPILL IN THE SKY folks!!! This Warming [oily] Earth which we are ALL facing is because of the emis­sions of nearly 8 bil­lion people com­busting fossil fuels. Greta points out this “fossil EMISSIONS problem” ten times in her first eleven minute public TEDx pre­sen­ta­tion. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H2QxFM9y0tY

      She’s wired to her own core beliefs and this Planet of Environmentalists and globally-aware Youth simply needed someone to stand up and follow. Listen to her short talk at the URL above — then form your own opin­ions.

      So inter­esting that it was a Autistic, tiny, 16 yr. old, quiet, yet deter­mined Girl who chas­tises busi­ness people for putting Profits before the Planet so that they can con­tinue to make “unimag­in­able amounts of money.”

      Gary Bridge
      Durango, Colorado

  5. One autistic person more or less con­firms the implicit biases of the masses and acts as their com­fort food inspi­ra­tion porn and the other actu­ally chal­lenges their mis­con­cep­tions about how strong and badass autistic people can be. I think it’s pretty obvious why people fawn over Kodi while they crit­i­cize Greta. They do the same thing to the Autistic Community and ND Movement. This isn’t to knock Kodi but it does show that people are biased and that we’ve got a lot of work to do.

  6. I’ve long admired Greta Thunberg for her purity and hon­esty. It seems to me that no other person but an autistic could con­tinue to focus so fully on the issue of cli­mate change when there is so much dis­trac­tion all around. For each person who aims hate at her, there are so many who are inspired by her and are trying to follow her example.
    I appre­ciate your article a lot. I’m a mom of an autistic son and I’m learning from this blog about how the dis­tinc­tion between “high” and “low” func­tioning is really irrel­e­vant and inac­cu­rate. This is helping me under­stand my son and my stu­dents better. Many thanks for all the edu­ca­tion you are pro­viding in this blog.

  7. I just won­dered if you have ever heard of ‘Blind’ Tom Wiggins. Look him up. I have included him in my Black History Months list of achievers

  8. This is a bril­liant piece. I par­tic­u­larly admired the way that you point out that dis­abled people are accepted and even lauded as enter­tainers, but effec­tively unwel­come in pol­i­tics and “real life”. Telling, that.

    As a fan of Thunberg, and a fellow obses­sive about cli­mate and ecology, I am irked by the igno­rance in the way rightwing media use autism as an inval­i­da­tion of the actual, evidence-based argu­ments pre­sented. People such as Piers Morgan and Trump etc are clearly so igno­rant about autism as to be unaware how we pri­ori­tise logic and evi­dence above cliches and brain­washing. We’re easier to lie to, indi­vid­u­ally, but harder to hide sci­en­tific truth from, when the evi­dence is out there for us to find. Speaking for myself, I have very low tol­er­ance for cog­ni­tive dis­so­nance and don’t blindly follow a belief-herd. I change my mind according to the evi­dence avail­able. Hegemonic pro­gram­ming is a really effec­tive tool for the neu­rotyp­ical pop­u­la­tion, and accusing Thunberg of being pro­grammed somehow is dirty old trans­fer­ence in action!

    I have been involved in green actism over the years, and it’s inter­esting how few activists seem “normal”. When “normal” means com­pli­ance with a toxic and destruc­tive system, it’s up to the anom­alous to lead the way to a better world.

    Thanks again for this hopeful piece. Excuse the rant, but you’ve made my day! Needed this.

    1. Her age also seems to be a sticking point for the right, as well as some even loopier groups. There’s a frankly alarming amount of com­ments floating around along the lines of “if a 16-year old is old enough to inform gov­ern­ment policy, why can’t we have sex with one without being branded pedophiles?”

      I only wish I was making this up.

      1. God, that’s nau­se­ating!!

      2. Ugh. So bizarre anyway, this unwritten con­sensus that old (white) men are wise policy makers, whereas teenagers (using evi­dence and facts over rhetoric) are not worthy of hearing. For example, A Levels are such rig­orous courses, and teenage brains are sharp and great at rea­soning and recall. It’s aging that makes many people rely heavily on prej­u­dice rather than facts and logic.

        1. Yep, that’s the ageism talking. The pos­si­bility that the afore­men­tioned old men might be inad­e­quate for cur­rent issues is some­thing they refuse to think about because they’re so sure the whip­per­snap­pers don’t know any­thing.

  9. Great article. I kept waiting for a men­tion of what’s (to me) the most obvious reason why they are treated dif­fer­ently, aside from the enter­tainer v. activist part— sexism.

  10. Disappointing in an article about stigma against autistic people to find stigma against people labelled “per­son­ality dis­or­dered”.

    What right do autistic people have to expect people to believe them when they explain their lifes, if autistic people then turn around to inval­i­date the expe­ri­ences of other trau­ma­tised people and call their expres­sion of dis­tress “atten­tion seeking”?

    It’s deeply dis­ap­pointing to see one group of abused people point to another group of abused people just to say: “They’re the bad ones, they lie. We’re the good suf­fering people, you should believe us”

    1. I’m not sure that was the intent. Societies per­cep­tion of per­son­ality dis­or­ders par­tic­u­larly bor­der­line and histri­onic per­son­ality dis­or­ders have always linked atten­tion seeking behav­iours as some means to inval­i­date women. What is becoming obvious in recent studies is that there is a cross over of behav­iour traits between Asperger’s and bor­der­line per­son­ality dis­or­ders. As more women are being diag­nosed with Autism later in life the mis­di­ag­nosis of BPD and it’s mis­per­cep­tion as atten­tion seeking has began to chal­lenge the whole con­cept that women have histri­onic episodes that are somehow not real. I read this sen­tence on Greta being treated as though she is per­son­ality dis­or­dered and there­fore atten­tion seeking in that light. I am not sure the writer is saying that per­son­ality dis­or­ders are atten­tion seeking but that rather those une­d­u­cated about Autism (and per­son­ality dis­or­ders) are still in that state of dis­missing intel­li­gent women, in par­tic­ular, as simply being overly emo­tional, histri­onic, atten­tion seeking and unbal­anced per­son­al­i­ties whose views are invalid. I don’t think there was any infer­ence to per­son­ality dis­or­ders as bad and autism as good. It was an indict­ment on how society has his­tor­i­cally and presently still clas­si­fies women who are out­spoken as per­son­ality dis­or­dered. That com­ment towards Greta harms both the Autistic com­mu­nity and those with per­son­ality dis­or­ders whose suf­fering by and large goes unac­knowl­edged and unde­tected. I am sorry your feel­ings were hurt as there def­i­nitely should be a common bond given the judge­ment we face for sim­ilar behav­iour traits.

  11. It is shocking to see all the mis­con­cep­tions about Greta’s family that are repeated across the world. As a Swedish mother of two Autistic chil­dren I have fol­lowed her family strug­gling with life in the public eye for many years, and her par­ents have given every­thing for their chil­dren. Her father gave up his career years ago to be a full time father while the mother, as an inter­na­tional opera star, worked to sup­port the family. Recently she only works close to home because of her family sit­u­a­tion and they get by, but are in no way super rich or benifit­ting eco­nom­i­cally from the sit­u­a­tion. During the 2015 refugee crisis the mother took a public stand for sup­porting refugees and the far right groups trashed her across the internet for it and that makes the family the focus for alt right hatred since. This needs to be known to the world so we can under­stand the whole pic­ture here.

  12. No sur­prise that Donald-Ugly-Ass-Hair-Trump starts sh*t talking,1 :a girl!,2, voice crying out in warning of apoc­a­lyptic cli­mate change,3 Neurodiverse!

  13. https://www.desmog.co.uk/2019/09/15/attacks-greta-thunberg-right-wing-free-market-network

    Many of the attacks on Greta are part of a directed campaign–her ASD is simply a dis­tin­guishing fea­ture that allows a bit more of a tar­geted attack. She is up against –and threatens–billions in profits. Even the Guardian, sup­pos­edly a left wing paper, has posted arti­cles about Greta where her ASD was used detri­men­tally against her.

    1. Author

      Now this is fas­ci­nating. If I’ve been fol­lowing anti-autistic online trolls who used to acknowl­edge cli­mate change who now are deniers … Would it be rea­son­able to con­jec­ture they’re paid influ­encers?

      1. I don’t think it’s likely they’re paid. My guess would be they pick their stance so that it’s the oppo­site to the one pro­claimed by someone from the demo­graphic they despise — no matter what stance it ends up being.

  14. I am actu­ally sur­prised by how many Autistic people and Autism par­ents there are that buy into the ‘exploited Autistic child’ theme with Greta because they either dis­agree with cli­mate change or because they believe Autistic people are unable to think for them­selves. I am on a number of Autism pages and the hatred and ableist com­ments are astounding. Most of the argu­ments totally lack logic ie abu­sive par­ents; brain­washed; men­tally unwell little girl. She is a few months short of 17 years old that is not a little girl or a child. She went from not eating and not speaking to being able to rally the youth of the world. Most teenagers would not climb on a tiny boat with a bucket toilet and no space or pri­vacy and nei­ther would many Autistic adults who do not like change and being out of their com­fort zone. To me it all speaks of a fairly strong willed young person who has found their own path.

    1. Author

      I was every bit that firm in my resolve and con­vic­tion in kinder­garten. You?

      1. Hell yes. It’s why I get so angry when people start using the ‘poor child what is going to become of her when the exploiters abandon her?’ I’m like hello how many chil­dren do you know? How come Greta’s not enti­tled to an opinion because she’s not a cli­mate expert and yet you have an opinion on chil­dren which you believe is fact when you are clearly not an expert on child devel­op­ment? Some people with Autism are shy and trusting but that can also be about tem­pera­ment. Many Autistic people have had to study peo­ple’s faces as young chil­dren to learn how to rec­i­p­ro­cate and thus become early bull­shit detec­tors. They know when they are being conned and you have to put up a pretty bloody strong argu­ment to get them to do any­thing. I have two sons with Autism aged 7 and 9 and have Autism myself. You’d get none of us on that boat unless we really wanted to go. I could not just fob off my sons fears with ‘here is a bottle of “magic begone cli­mate change” spray.’ They’d want facts and more facts and they’d better be plau­sible facts backed by sci­ence. They watch the chil­dren’s news and have polit­ical views that are not mine. They are not going to sud­denly mature and develop crit­ical thinking on their 18th birthday, as that journey began long ago, just as Greta’s did, and Autism didn’t impair it, it has enhanced their ques­tion and drive for logic.

  15. My opinion on this is that it’s even bigger than ableism and shows solid signs of sexism and racism here. Maybe she’s just not sexy enough, or American enough too? As a person who grew up a woman, I found it frus­trating that all the way up to my late twen­ties, my opin­ions were seen as those of a child­like person. Then sud­denly as I turned 30 they had more weight. It was a curious and frus­trating occur­rence. But still, even as and older female pre­senting person, I find that the males like to think that their (often half baked) opin­ions are more valid than my facts.

    Women, bame(poc), dis­abled, neurodivergent…maybe we are just sup­posed to be pleasing to the eye and qui­etly enter­tain people in a pre­scribed manner? They sure like to jump all over us when we speak the truth.

  16. Hi Terra, I’m taking a little social media break but you can get in touch with me about what we were talking about ear­lier today. If you go onto my site http://www.ingridwonders.com and use the con­tact infor­ma­tion link that will put us in touch and we can go from there. 🙂



  17. I hope it is OK to add my voice here and say that if you do not know much about autism, and most people do not, it is much easier to under­stand Kodi’s autism than Greta’s autism. The world is more ready to give con­sid­er­a­tion to Kodi than to Greta. I find that even many pro­fes­sionals in the field have a dif­fi­cult time under­standing pro­files of autistic kids who have sig­nif­i­cant cog­ni­tive strengths and present more “typ­ical.” The way she is bul­lied for her autistic traits is appalling. But she is really being bul­lied because of her views, fear­less­ness, and the stand she is taking, because she is a strong young woman, and because she is dif­ferent… in one word, she is seen as a threat, and bul­lied by those who do not know how to have a dig­ni­fied intel­lec­tual dis­cus­sion and have to resort to nas­ti­ness.

  18. Yes, and race and gender. If Greta were a guy, this would be very dif­ferent, even with the exact autistic char­ac­ter­is­tics she dis­plays.

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