The parents of a three-year-old boy were shocked when they claimed that a Sainsbury’s worker snapped their fingers in their son’s face to get him to speak.
Luke Finch, 36, took his autistic son Caleb, three, to the supermarket in Grimsby on Saturday.
The worker allegedly followed the action with the words “No, not today” when Caleb, who is not verbal, did not respond.
Mom Corinne Bryan, 27, and partner Luke believe that more needs to be done to make autistic people feel inclusive in society. Grimsby Live Report.
Corinne said, “Luke took Caleb and one of the workers with him – who knows the situation and has already tried to speak to Caleb – clicked in front of his face and said ‘no, not today’ and then just walked away.
“To be honest, I was angry that someone would act like this.
“No child has to talk to someone if they really don’t want to.”
Sainsbury’s has since apologized and stated that it intends to investigate the complaint as a matter of urgency.
Corinne said her partner was deeply upset.
“Luke said he said something, but right now he couldn’t quite believe what had happened.
“Luke was incredibly upset and frustrated with the worker then and still is.”
Since Caleb was diagnosed with autism 18 months ago, Corinne has blogged and influenced the local area to raise awareness.
They go to Sainsbury’s regularly as part of Caleb’s routine.
She said the staff is usually very sympathetic to the family’s situation and aware that if he is not spoken to, he may not return.
Corinne said she went through a whole range of emotions.
She said, “I was a mixture of anger, frustration and confusion – I just can’t believe someone would act like that.
“Later I got excited by all of this. You feel like you are trying so hard to prevent these things and it makes you even more worried about the future.
“I’m just glad Caleb doesn’t fully understand the situation as I would hate it if that happened to him.
“I don’t think this type of behavior is acceptable to anyone, let alone someone with a disability.
“I’m still shocked and angry, to be honest. It’s just so bizarre to think that someone would even think that it is acceptable to do so.”
She said it shows that more needs to be done to raise awareness about autism.
She said, “After all of our efforts to raise awareness about autism, incidents like this make you feel like you are getting nowhere.
“I will not let this stop me, however, and will continue to press to help others understand.
“I just hope that society will accept his disability more when he is older.
“I hate it when children and adults are attacked in this way. If people understand more, they may accept a little more.”
In response to these allegations, a Sainsbury’s spokesperson said, “We are committed to treating all of our customers with respect and are urgently investigating this incident.
“We apologize for any excitement that may have been caused.”
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