Katie Hopkins: Mother of autistic child writes emotive open letter to the columnist about bullying remarks that 'set us back 20 years'

Hopkins labelled the child a 'tw*t' and blamed her parents for lack of discipline

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The Independent Online

Katie Hopkins ignited yet more outrage following a series of remarks she made about a nine-year-old girl with autism.

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, The Sun columnist wrote:

She also compared her to a farm animal, made jokes about her weight and suggested her parents use military discipline.

Naturally, her comments sparked a strong response from followers, parents and autism awareness campaigners alike.

The National Autistic Society described the incident as "a new low" for Hopkins.

Jane Harris, Director of External Affairs and Social Change at the NAS, told The Independent: "It's unacceptable to talk about children in this aggressive way, regardless of whether they have a diagnosed condition like autism or not."

"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," she concluded. Now, Nicky Seers, the mother of a seven-year-old son Sam, who has been diagnosed with autism, has written an open letter to Hopkins, highlighting the damaging nature of her posts that she believes "sets us back 20 years".

Originally published in The Mirror, it reads:

Dear Katie Hopkins,

You don't know me, but boy do I know who you are.

See, I feel I need to explain a few things to you. I'm a mum of an autistic child called Sam, he's almost seven years old and he's amazing.

I'm also a parent support worker and help run an autism support group.

One of the things that breaks my heart is meeting parents with newly-diagnosed children and their stories of pure ignorance they have to go through daily.

You know the sort of thing - kid kicking off in Sainsbury's, people tutting or even stating how 'a smack would sort them out'.

They don't know the absolute sensory pain our children are going through with the loud supermarket lights - yes, that's right, the lights!

Or they are, like my son, petrified of automatic doors and standing screaming outside the shop.

I've grown a very tough skin but comments you made about a child being a t*** over Twitter have upset me.

Hopkins-1.JPG See, comments like that set our community back by 20 years, which is a real shame as we've come so far.

It's bad enough getting judged on a daily basis without someone in the public eye making comments about a child, or stating the Labour Party's Ed Miliband is on the spectrum - like it's something horrific.

Hopkins-2.JPG

You should come along to our support group and meet our amazing parents and children.

That's an open invite. I'm all for educating the ignorant.

I'm not going to ask you to apologise - what would be the point? But I will say one thing: autism, or any disability, can happen to anyone. You should know this, having epilepsy yourself.

Kind Regards,

Nicky Seers

Hopkins is yet to respond to Seers' offer, nor that of the National Autistic Society.

 

A petition urging the columnist to apologise to the autistic community on Change.org has thus far gathered over 10,000 signatures.

Hopkins' remarks 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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