Parenting

Mum thanks stranger for lying on the floor to stop her autistic son having a meltdown


Ian helped out while other strangers looked on dissaprovingly (Picture: Natalie Fernando/Better To Be Different/Facebook)

A woman has thanked a total stranger who stepped in to stop her autistic son getting distressed.

Natalie Fernando was walking along the seafront in Southend-on-Sea with her five-year-old son Rudy when he became agitated at having to turn back – something he frequently struggles with. 

Rudy then began to lie down on the floor and some passersby started tutting and staring – despite Natalie apologising for her son making ‘loud noises.’

But one stranger stopped to ask the 44-year-old if everything was OK. 

The kind man, named Ian, proceeded to lie on the floor with Rudy to talk to him, before walking them both back to their car.

Posting on her Facebook page Better to be Different, Natalie explained how Rudy can sometimes get overwhelmed and why Ian’s actions saved the pair from ‘a meltdown lasting up to an hour or more.’

Ian got down onto the floor himself (Picture: Natalie Fernando/Better To Be Different/Facebook)

The mum, from Essex, said: ‘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. 

‘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.’

He helped Rudy become less agitated (Picture: Natalie Fernando/Better To Be Different/Facebook)

Posting a photo of Ian, she added: ‘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’s message on Facebook (Picture: Natalie Fernando/Better To Be Different/Facebook)
The mother and son duo (Picture: Natalie Fernando/Better To Be Different/Facebook)

Natalie, who also has a 14-year-old called Eden and stepdaughters Eva and Layla, urges people not to judge a struggling parent – especially without knowing the circumstances. 

She added: ‘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.

‘Thanks Ian from Southend Sea Front, you truly are a kind man.’

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