Many times, we talk about the importance of meeting others with selective mutism, to help with the feelings of isolation and loneliness. However, we can look outside our social circle as well, and find individuals in the world who have overcome their SM and spread awareness about it, helping to pave the way for others to get help. One of these individuals is Greta Thunberg, the 18-year-old Swedish climate change activist.

Greta was diagnosed with Asperger’s syndrome (now under the autism spectrum disorder  umbrella) and OCD at the age of 11. Around this time, she also stopped speaking to anyone other than her parents and sister. Her parents note that this lasted for around 3 years, and was concerning for them when she told them she wanted to accept the invitation to speak at the United Nations climate-change conference in Poland. However, the noted that when they followed her lead regarding reducing their carbon footprint, allowing her to miss school on Fridays to protest, and go to these speaking engagements, “it was like night and day.” Taking steps towards this strongly held belief helped bring her back into the social world and fight for change.

Now, Greta spends her time speaking at world summits to leaders in climate change, politics, and environmentalism. Time magazine named Thunberg its 2019 Person of the Year. She was nominated for a Nobel Prize at the age of 16. And she continues to use her voice every day to fight for what she is passionate about. Greta is an incredible example of the power of following your passion and helping that pave the way to finding your voice again.



Amalia Hubal, M.A.


Krosofsky, A. (2021, March 24). Does Greta Thunberg Have Selective Mutism? Green Matters; Green Matters.