Once again Katie Hopkins is a hot topic of conversation within the autism community this week. A few weeks back she had angered parents of children with autism as well as individuals who are on the autism spectrum, with her quite frankly offensive and foul tweets about a young girl who was featured in the channel 4 documentary series, Born Naughty?
The little girl had been diagnosed with Pathological Demand Avoidance (PDA) that lies on the autistic spectrum and ADHD. Katie likened the little girl to a farm animal, blamed bad parenting for her behaviour, as well as calling the little girl a t***. My opinion piece can be read here.
A few weeks prior to this incident, she had made offensive tweets about Ed Miliband and how he was on the spectrum.
Now in what seems like a complete U-turn, on her LBC radio show, after being confronted by an angry father of a child with ADHD, Katie said:
‘I probably am on the spectrum. I did an interview with a journalist the other day, and said, “Look I’m definitely on the spectrum.’”‘
Understandably this has greatly upset members of the autism community. Kevin Healey, leading autism campaigner and Ambassador for the National Autistic Society (NAS), set up a petition demanding that Katie apologise for her offensive tweets, and so far 11,000 people have signed the petition, but no apology has been made, and we suspect that none ever will.
Kevin Healey told Metro:
“She is not medically trained to diagnose conditions; she states mostly that ADHD doesn’t exist. People with autism do not behave in the manner that Katie Hopkins has behaved recently by upsetting thousands of parents and people on the spectrum.”
The National Autistic Society (NAS) also reached out to Katie, after she tweeted about Born Naughty? so that she could meet the families that they support and see the work that they do, but again she did not accept their invitation.
So to be honest, I don’t quite know what to make of it all. I really don’t know if she is or isn’t on the spectrum, and to be honest that is not the real issue here.
The real question, is why has she chosen now to make such a public statement?
Why is she now saying such things? Many individuals within the autism community are saying that she has chosen to say she is autistic, to just get out of making an apology, and to be honest I also have a nagging feeling that she is saying this to justify her behaviour. However there is no justification for those offensive tweets aimed at a young girl, she is a mother to young girls herself, and this is what I find truly shocking. More importantly though, what kind of message does this send out? Is it that she behaves the way in which she does because she is autistic, and that she cannot help those vile tweets and offensive words because she is on the spectrum? If that is the message that the general public hear, then that is what is truly frightening.