Katie Hopkins invited to meet members of National Autistic Society following 'aggressive' remarks about nine-year-old girl

The columnist branded an autistic child a 't**t' and blamed her parents

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The Independent Online

After two reports to the police for incitement to racial hatred and an open letter from Stephen Hawking’s daughter about the rights of disabled people, you’d be forgiven for thinking we’d already read the worst from Katie Hopkins.

But the National Autistic Society has accused The Sun columnist of stooping to “a new low” following comments she made about a nine-year-old girl with autism on Twitter.

Posting as she tuned into Channel 4 documentary Born Naughty?, which followed the therapy of nine-year-old Honey, who had newly been diagnosed with mild autism and Pathological Demand Avoidance, she wrote:

She later compared Katie to a farm animal: “Honey is completing a story about three little pigs. She identifies strongly with this animal #bornnaughty”.

“'We are looking at a little girl...' Sorry, I am going to have to stop you there. That girl isn't little #bornnaughty,” she continued.

“The taxpayer is now forking out for play sessions for Honey and a special school. Supplemented by chocolate and red bull #bornnaughty”

“Everything that has been suggested to Honey's parents has been hopeless,” she added, “I would suggest military discipline and a new name#bornnaughty.” She received strong criticism from her followers over the remarks. And an even stronger response from Jane Harris, Director of External Affairs and Social Change at the National Autistic Society.

“It's unacceptable to talk about children in this aggressive way, regardless of whether they have a diagnosed condition like autism or not,” Harris tells The Independent.

“We recognise that writing to shock and offend is what Katie does, and nothing we can say will change that, but this is a new low. As well as being offensive, her comments took people’s attention away from the important issues raised in ‘Born Naughty?’. Most concerning for us was how she made light of the importance of a diagnosis and getting the right support for the 1 in 100 people who are diagnosed with autism. In many areas of the country, parents have to wait for years for an assessment and diagnosis, not knowing how best to support their child. We should be focusing on what we can do to bring waiting times for assessments down and improve the support people get after diagnosis.

 

“Despite the judgemental and damaging nature of her tweets, we were encouraged to see people responding by showing they understand the very real challenges faced by the estimated 2.7 million individuals and families affected by autism in the UK.

“If Katie wants to really understand autism, we would like to invite her to come to meet some members of the National Autistic Society and hear about the challenges they face every day.”

Hopkins is yet to respond to the offer.

Her comments come after she was similarly criticised for accusing Ed Miliband of behaving “on the spectrum” during the leader’s debate last month.

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