Asda has been accused of not “understanding and accepting” mental health problems in children due to slogan on one of their kids’ Christmas jumpers.
The supermarket stocks a snowman jumper with the slogan: “I’m having a meltdown” written on the front.
Mum Jennifer Dunstan argues this is offensive to children with autism spectrum disorders (ASD) or mental health conditions.
Dunstan has set up a Change.org petition, which has gained nearly 100 signatures at the time of writing.
“They’re using children’s Christmas-themed clothing to make fun out of people’s suffering, with this poorly thought-out and downright mean slogan,” Dunstan wrote on Change.org.
Dunstan continued: “Anyone suffering with ASD and similar spectrum disorders or mental health conditions that involve having meltdowns as a symptom deserve understanding and acceptance.
“Under the Equalities Act 2010, disability is a ‘protected characteristic’ so we put out to Asda that they’re breaking the guidelines set out with this awful slogan.
“They/we do not deserve to be made fun of. We request that all stock be immediately removed from shelves, without question or hesitation.”
One commenter, Nicola Patton, wrote on the petition: “Meltdowns are nothing to laugh about or anything to find funny, autism or not. I recently got hurt unintentionally by one and to see this jumper definitely makes my blood boil.
“Why would anyone think this is humorous? Have a little thought Asda.”
Another commented: “This is very disrespectful and is becoming a trend to make fun of everything and everybody.
“Shame on whoever came up with this idea.”
Commenting on the slogan, Jane Harris, director of external affairs at the National Autistic Society, told The Huffington Post UK: “Autistic children and adults can struggle with loud noises, strong smells, bright lights and new places and become completely overwhelmed.
“This can mean people lose control of their behaviour – a lot of families and people on the autism spectrum call this a ‘meltdown’ or ‘shutdown’.
“This can be extremely distressing for the person and family, particularly when they’re in public and facing judgemental looks or tuts from strangers. We understand why some autistic people and families could see this jumper design as insensitive.”
In response to the criticism, an Asda spokesperson told HuffPost UK: “We take mental health issues extremely seriously and supported World Mental Health Awareness Day this month.
“Our snowman t-shirt is intended to be light-hearted and we’ve received great feedback from customers. We’re sorry if anyone is offended by it – that is never our intention.”