SHE’S a young girl who stood up in front of the world and attacked the inaction of governments with her fiery demeanour.

While many expressed their admiration for Swedish school girl Greta Thunberg, who is at the moment the figurehead of the climate change movement, there were others who branded her ‘weird’, ‘unlikeable’ and even cruelly compared her to murderous horror fiction characters.

She addressed world leaders at a UN summit this week, laying into them for prioritising economic matters over the future of our planet. ‘How dare you’, she said repeatedly, only just holding back her tears of anger.

I hope she is still angry, and not deeply hurt, at the backlash she has faced.

Thunberg has a diagnosis of Aspergers. That means she is incredibly single minded, tough, fierce, but also socially awkward and in some ways, vulnerable.

Asperger’s is a high-functioning form of autism. When I say high-functioning, I don’t mean ‘mild’. It means she doesn’t have learning difficulties alongside the autism. However, she may struggle with regulating her emotions, may have very black-and white-thinking, and her brain is wired slightly differently to that of a ‘neuro-typical’ person, meaning she may struggle with social interaction.

People with Asperger’s don’t always pick up on the social cues that many of us pick up instinctively. It can make them appear slightly different, difficult, and sometimes even rude. They are not, or they certainly don’t mean to be.

If Greta Thunberg appears slightly awkward, not quite as ‘polished’ as other articulate youths of her age, as it is because of her condition, as well as the fact that English is her second language. To attack her appearance, the way she speaks, is to attack her disability. People who are at heart a bully will subconsciously pick out social differences in others and criticise them to make themselves feel like a bigger person, and that is the core of the reaction against Thunberg.

My daughter has the same diagnosis as Thunberg, so more than some others I understand the incredible grit and sheer-minded determination which drove her to get on that stage. The deep anger at the injustice is what drives her. It is probably a challenge for Thunberg just to leave the house sometimes, but she travelled over the ocean to address the world.

Sarah Vine from the Daily Mail wrote a condescending piece criticising Thunberg's parents for being pushy and expressing pseudo-concern for her mental welfare. But in my experience, people with Asperger’s are a force which cannot be stopped. Once they have an issue they are passionate about, they will do everything they can to learn about that and to fight for it. Thunberg’s parents are, I am sure, driven by their daughter’s single mindedness. I wouldn’t think for a second it is the other way around.

What she has shown is that she, and others like her, are an incredible force for good. Other than the social issues they might face, ‘Aspies’, as they are sometimes known, will make great politicians, because many have a fierce sense of right and wrong and have less capacity to be manipulative or Machiavellian. Perhaps many of our politicians can learn from this. Vote for Thunberg and those of her ilk: the world will be a much better place.