THE mother of a boy with autism who suffered a sensory meltdown in a supermarket said people who told her he deserves a smack should be ashamed of themselves.

Danielle Crang, 34, was also approached by one woman in Bridgwater’s Morrisons store who said: “Would you like my husband to come and shout at him?”

The mother-of-five said she has been left “shocked and disgusted” by the ignorance of some shoppers and says more needs to be done to educate them.

Logan, four, has autism and sensory processing disorder which presents difficulties in how he processes information around him.

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Mrs Crang said: “He was having a massive meltdown, a sensory overload. If he is in a crowd with too many people, as there was at the time with people gathering around, as people wanted to see what was going on, he cannot cope with it. I can normally deal with it pretty quickly.”

Mrs Crang, who also has a ten-year-old son with autism and ADHD, named Mason, was shopping with her mother and Logan. His episode started when he saw a balloon display at the entrance to the supermarket yesterday (Wednesday, January 10).

She managed to calm him down to continue her shopping but he became agitated again at the checkouts, so Danielle suggested her mother took Logan while she paid for her shopping.

Logan climbed from the trolley and was crying and screaming but the situation escalated as more and more people stopped to stare.

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Mrs Crang added: “People were giving my mum dirty looks and someone said ‘if that was my son, I would give him a smack’. One woman said, ‘excuse me, would you like my husband to shout at him’?”

“He is not a naughty child and I have experienced things like this before. I have had people say things to me but not as bad as yesterday – that shocked me.

“It’s disgusting, there is no awareness about parents like myself. We should be left to do normal things, like shopping, without the unsolicited parenting advice because nobody knows what they’re talking about – it makes our lives so much more difficult.

“I hope they are ashamed of themselves.”

She said those people who judged should perhaps ask a parent if they need some help and not assume their child is a troublemaker if they encounter similar situations in the future.

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“And if you don’t want to do that move on and let us get on with it like we know how to. Everybody assumes children like mine are naughty by choice,” she added.

Mrs Crang said these attitudes make mothers and fathers with autistic children feel like they are bad parents and reluctant to take them anywhere.

She said some supermarkets should offer a ‘calm hour’ for parents with autistic children.

Mrs Crang said: “I am very surprised at how many people have experienced the same as me. I feel there needs to be more awareness. If supermarkets could offer a quiet hour, that would be fantastic.

“Some supermarkets and other establishments offer an autism friendly hour when they dim the lights, turn the radio off and make it a more calming environment for people like myself. Not one supermarket in Bridgwater offers that kind of facility.”