Mum designs ‘I have autism’ t-shirts so strangers will stop calling her son ‘naughty’

(Picture: KMG / SWNS)

A mum who is tired of stangers calling her child ‘naughty’ has designed a clothing range to make people more aware of the fact he has autism.

Oscar Barker was diagnosed with autism, along with epilepsy and a brain condition called global development delay, aged 18 months.

Since then, his mother Kellie said he has been told by strangers to ‘shut up’ and that others have said to her they would smack him if he was their child, because he often shouts or appears to be acting naughty.

The 41-year-old, from Herne Bay, Kent, said that because her son looks ‘normal’ the family often receive disapproving glances and barbed comments from people that think he’s being naughty.

So now she has started making clothes that have a message printed on them, pointing out that he has autism, so people are aware of children with the condition.

She said: ‘When we go out, it doesn’t look like there’s anything wrong with him – he looks like a normal run-of-the-mill kid.

(Picture: KMG / SWNS)

‘Oscar does have unpredictable behaviour, though. He gets lots of looks and gets called naughty by adults.

‘We’ve had, “for god’s sake, shut up” because he can really scream.

‘We have experienced people saying to us before, “if he were mine, he’d be getting a smack”.

‘I’ve also been in meetings where Oscar isn’t referred to by his name and is only talked about when people say, “what’s wrong with him”. It’s really offensive.’

Kellie said comments such as these often make Oscar feel worse – he can become anxious in unfamiliar surroundings, or if he feels claustrophobic or uncomfortable.

She said: ‘It can trigger a meltdown with him.

(Picture: KMG / SWNS)

‘Sometimes Oscar’s behaviour can make you go, “wow”; he could be on all fours in a public place taking his shoes and socks off.’

As a result, Kellie decided to establish Born Anxious, a range of clothing warning others about her son’s special needs.

The label sells t-shirts for children and adults emblazoned with messages like ‘be kind I have autism’ and ‘unpredictable and amazing’.

She said: ‘It’s about informing people in a really gentle way that he may need a wide berth when we’re out.

‘Someone could go up to him, say “hello, mate” and ruffle his hair without realising that could ruin our whole day.

‘I’ve had a really good reaction to the products. A lot of people have said that people have been kinder to them because of this.’

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