Southend-on-Sea, Essex, England: A mother named Natalie Fernando, 44, was having a walk with her 5-year-old boy, Rudy when he refused to listen when she called for him.
Rudy is struggling with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and it’s common for people with it to have difficulty being redirected, especially if they’re having fun doing something.
“My son loves to walk, but he hates to turn around and walk back, we usually try to walk in a circuit to avoid this but on his favourite walk with the boats we have no choice but to turn back,” the mother wrote on her blog’s Facebook page, “Better to Be Different.”
This man, a total stranger saved me today from either a meltdown lasting up to an hour or more or the alternative which…
Then, Rudy got upset and threw a tantrum on the ground. Natalie apologized to a passerby for the ruckus, but she still received a judgemental stare.
Rudy’s tantrums can last for 1 hour or longer and he can even turn to aggression.
Thankfully, a stranger named Ian, who happened to be walking with a child in a stroller, saw what was happening and decided to help out.
“This man, my hero this morning saw my son on the floor and like any other person would assume that he was having a tantrum, he asked my little Roo what his name was and 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,” Natalie wrote.
When Ian laid down next to Rudy and started talking to him, Rudy slowly started forgetting about his meltdown.
And soon, Rudy was back on his feet and ready to head back home.
“He then proceeded to chat with us whilst walking back to the car,” Natalie wrote. “I am so thankful to this chap Ian, I will not forget his kindness. In a world where you can be anything be kind.”
Ian’s empathetic approach was the best thing that could have happened in this situation.
Children with ASD are not throwing tantrums to be defiant.
According to Healthline,
“Children with autism aren’t crying, wailing, or flailing to get at us somehow.”
“They’re crying because it’s what their bodies need to do in that moment to release tension and emotion from feeling overwhelmed with emotions or sensory stimulations.”
I’ve gone quiet…!
I wonder why, perhaps its recovering from the 25-week lockdown period of having Rudy home all day…
Natalie is incredibly thankful for Ian stepping in and says she welcomes all the help she can get when her child melts down in a public space.
“If you see a parent struggling, maybe take the time to say, ‘Are you OK?’ don’t judge the parenting, try not to judge the child, just be kind,” she wrote on Facebook.
“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,” she continued.
She concluded her post by thanking Ian wholeheartedly.
“Thanks Ian from Southend Sea Front, you truly are a kind man…”
Check out BBC’s report on the story by clicking below.
What are your thoughts on this touching story? Let us know by joining the conversation in the comments and please share this article if you’ve enjoyed the read.