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Get Low: Stranger Helps Boy With Autism Recover From Public Meltdown By Getting On The Ground With Him

man helps autistic child with public meltdown
Better to Be Different/Facebook

A parent with a Facebook page detailing her life with an autistic child shared a story that’s touched a number of readers. When the child had a meltdown in public last month, a complete stranger stopped to help in a surprising but incredibly effective way.

The story comes from Better to Be Different, detailing an episode last month in which the author notes, “A total stranger saved me today from either a meltdown lasting up to an hour or more, or the alternative, which is usually a bit of a beating from my boy who totally loses himself when he has a meltdown and can become very aggressive.”

As the Good News Network elaborated, “Natalie Fernando was taking her 5-year-old autistic son Rudy (affectionately known as “Roo”) for a seaside walk at a popular promenade in Essex when the little boy spiraled into a meltdown.

“My son loves to walk, but he hates to turn around and walk back,” she explained. “We usually try to walk in a circuit to avoid this, but on his favorite walk with the boats, we have no choice but to turn back. This will often lead to a meltdown, one which I can normally handle but on the back of two weeks out of school today was too much for him and me.”

“Knowing she and Rudy were drawing attention and that her son’s outburst might go on for an hour, Fernando was apologetic but she soon found herself subjected to the reproachful stares and comments of passersby,” the story continued.

As she relayed in the story, the man who came upon them saw that they needed a different kind of attention. Seeing the boy lying on the floor, the man asked the boy his name. As the mother wrote, “When I explained he didn’t really understand and that he is autistic and has a host of other challenges making this part of the walk difficult, he said, ‘That’s cool, I’ll lay down with him.'”

“The calming maneuver quickly turned the situation around,” the Good News Network story relayed. “After Rudy recovered his composure, Ian walked Roo and his mom back to their car.”

Reflecting on his kindness, she wrote in her Facebook post, “It’s said a lot at the moment, ‘In a world where you can be anything, be kind.” Words are easy; these actions are not always so easy. This man is living the words and I couldn’t be more grateful.”

“If you see a parent struggling, maybe take the time to say, ‘Are you okay?’ she added. “Don’t judge the parenting, try not to judge the child, just be kind. We’re all walking our own path and navigating the journey the best we can. Sometimes it takes a moment of kindness from a complete stranger to completely change your day.”

Written by Phil West