Sophie Walker called the supermarket out for stocking ‘ableist’ material on its shelves.
Sophie, who has a 17-year-old daughter with autism and describes herself as a ‘feminist activist’ on her Twitter profile, took to social media after spotting the latest issue of Get Well magazine in her local Waitrose.
She shared a picture of the magazine, which features the words, ‘Reversing autism – reigniting your child’s brain,’ on the cover, writing: ‘What is this absolute crap on the shelves of my local Waitrose? Have you any idea how offensive this is? My daughter is well. Her brain is fully ignited – and firing such that she creates and thinks in ways that inspire and astound me daily. Scrap this ableist s**t now.’
‘People with autism and their families need to be welcomed and supported,’ she added. ‘Not “cured” by quacks who see autism as ill health.’
The post struck a chord with many people, getting 7,300 likes, 1,800 retweets and 538 comments.
‘As an autistic person, I jus wanted to offer my thanks for this full-throated defence of who we are,’ wrote one man. ‘And thank you for what you do as a parent. Like most kids, we don’t fully realise what our parents do for us until long after we’ve grown up.’
‘Oh. My. Days. As a mother of a daughter who has autism I am appalled,’ another user commented. ‘Wow speechless Waitrose please please take this off your shelves.’
But not everyone was in agreement. ‘This is called censorship. Other people might actually want to read this,’ wrote one woman.
‘I’m nervous about positioning autism as a condition that someone couldn’t wish to improve, ameliorate or reduce,’ another user commented. ‘It’s important to remember that for everyone whose life & thinking is uniquely enriched by their autism there are others for whom it is a significant disability…
‘As dad to a boy with autism I would absolutely wish to reverse it,’ he added. ‘He has massive developmental delay, is non verbal & has a great litany of challenging behaviours. It’d be a bit mad if I wasn’t ok with reversing all that…’
Responding to the criticism, a Waitrose & Partners spokesperson told The Independent, “We do not usually take a view on the editorial content of the many hundreds of magazines we sell.
“However we are very sorry this has upset some customers and we will be raising these concerns with our supplier.”