“I am very concerned that the advert gives a message that children with autism and Asperger’s syndrome are dangerous and potentially disturbed.There is no mistaking it.
When the child refers to “correct errors in my behaviour” this seems to imply ‘brain washing’ and a sense of guilt for how he behaved.
Many of the behaviours I consider as coping mechanisms for the lack of understanding and respect from other people.
He refers to reacting when people insult him. Those that insulted him need the treatment.”
There is no way Action for Children can wriggle out of this and try to fob off their damaging mistake by claiming that they were just letting Dan tell his story and saying that when we complain, we're being nasty to the poor autistic boy. This is precisely what they imply in their stock email, and what the few people who have tried to defend the ad on YouTube and on our Facebook group, have said.
I emailed the NAS last week about the ad, as did many other people. They have contacted Action for Children and explained how so many of their members are objecting to the ad, but unfortunately even they were sent the same pathetic excuses as all the rest of us.
I'm well aware that the ASA is receiving loads of complaints about the ad. There is also a Facebook group protesting Action for Children's MS ad. The ASA has been contacted by many about this too.
I hope that Action for Children will learn from all of this. They must commit to involving advocates from the groups they seek to represent. They must ensure that they are not misrepresenting people, or perpetuating dangerous stereotypes. As the slogan goes, nothing about us without us.