A mother filmed dragging her autistic four-year-old son along a pavement has hit back at claims she is a ‘bad mum’ after suffering backlash online.
Video of the woman pulling along the child by a harness, as she plodded through Liverpool city centre, went viral when it was posted by a shocked witness.
But the mother-of-one, who does not want to be named, has slammed people for judging her parenting ‘before they know the situation’.
She explained that her son had thrown a tantrum and had refused to move moments before the video.
She said: ‘My son has autism, he has meltdowns and throws himself on the floor.
‘What I am doing in that video is the only way I can move him.
‘He does it all the time and won’t get up or let me pick him up. He just drops to the floor like a sack of spuds.’
The video, which was posted on Twitter yesterday, has been viewed thousands of times and hundreds of people have questioned why someone did not intervene.
The 31-year-old mother said it had angered her that her son had been compared to a rag doll.
She was also offended by the suggestion he had fallen over and she had not picked him up.
The video, filmed in Liverpool, has been viewed thousands of times with many viewers shocked at the treatment
She added: ‘People are making me out to be a bad mum – I am not a bad mum.
‘They should ask before they judge me. Only two women came up to me and I said ‘he has severe autism’.
‘And I would have told that to anyone who asked me, but people just stare at me and him and judge and think he is ‘not normal’.
‘He is normal he just has autism.’
The single mother, who lives in Liverpool, said her son, who was diagnosed with autism when he was two, reacts badly to being around crowds of people.
Shocking: Footage shot in Liverpool has emerged appearing to show a woman dragging a child up a high street by the leash of its harness
She said: ‘I can’t go out very often because he has these meltdowns. He doesn’t like big crowds and whenever I take him out he could just kick off.
‘People don’t understand how hard it is having an autistic child, especially when they are so strong.
‘He has attacked me before and knocked me off my feet, but he doesn’t know he is hurting me.
‘He can be the same with his friends. It is very stressful.’
She added: ‘He isn’t a naughty child, he has autism and he is very loving. And people just look at me like something is wrong with him.
Unbelievable: In the clip, the woman appears to hold a rucksack in her left hand and the reins of the youngster’s harness in her right – as the child trails along the pavement behind her
WHAT IS AUTISM SPECTRUM DISORDER?
Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) can cause a wide range of symptoms, which are often grouped into two main categories.
Firstly, problems with social interaction and communication.
This includes difficulty understanding and being aware of other people’s emotions and feelings and/or problems taking part in, or starting, conversations.
Patterns of thought are another key area, namely restricted and repetitive patterns of thought or physical movement, such as hand tapping or twisting, and becoming upset if these set routines are disrupted.
It’s estimated about one in every 100 people in the UK has ASD. More boys are diagnosed with it than girls.
There’s no ‘cure for ASD, but a range of educational and behavioural support programmes can help people with the condition.
‘I have the reins on him because he has no sense of danger. I try my best and people that know me know that I am a good mum.
‘People should just ask before they judge.’
After sharing the video online, Joe, from Liverpool, told the Echo: ‘I was walking through town and the kid fell over and then the woman saw the kid had fallen but kept on walking.
‘The kid seemed fine with everything to be honest, it was people who saw it that seemed worse off. She walked on like that for a while.’
He added: ‘It sort of caught everyone off guard really, nobody knew what to say or do.’
Daniel Todd said: ‘That’s so so wrong,’ while another commenter added: ‘That’s pretty bad. Did no one stop her or step in?’
But Iain Hamilton added: ‘That’s not a real person / child – you’re tricking us here.’
But Joe has repeatedly insisted the child was real and that his video – though shocking – is genuine.
Earlier today Merseyside Police said they were investigating the video after it was reported to them and CCTV was being checked.