Stranger Lays On The Ground To Help Boy With Autism Calm Down During A Meltdown

When a kind man spotted a small boy having a meltdown, he stopped what he was doing and laid down on the concrete to help comfort him. The boy’s mom, Natalie, is hailing him as a hero for helping her and her son in such a deep way.

You see, 4-year-old Rudy (nicknamed “Roo”) has autism and is largely non-verbal. According to their blog, he “has a global development delay, is presenting with learning difficulties and sensory difficulties, he also has very challenging behaviour.”

One thing that’s particularly challenging for him is turning around during a walk. Natalie took to her Facebook page, Better to be Different, and shared that Rudy is happy to go on walks, but he has meltdowns when it’s time to turn around and head back.

Photo: flickr/Southend-on-Sea Borough Council Official

His mom further explained that she usually tries to choose circuits for their walks to avoid this, but his favorite walk with views of the boats doesn’t offer that, which inevitably leads to meltdowns.

In her post, she praised the “total stranger” named Ian Shelley for having a kind heart and helping them during one such meltdown. She said:

“This man, 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. This man, a total stranger took time out of his day to just chat and ask if I was ok. This man, a total stranger was my hero this morning and after laying with Roo then walked Rudy and I all the way back to our car.”

Photo: Facebook/Better to be Different

She explained that they were on Rudy’s favorite walk and he began to have a meltdown when it was time to turn back. She said, “I can normally handle [the meltdown] but on the back of 2 weeks out of school today was too much for him and me.”

Before the kind stranger approached, Natalie shared that “Only minutes before Rudy and I were being tutted at stared at and frowned at by a woman and a man with a 2 year old in a pram trying to sleep.”

She said they chose to go for a walk outside so Rudy could express himself as needed and it hurt to be openly judged and criticized for doing the best that she could for her son.

Photo: Facebook/Better to be Different

Thankfully, Ian arrived and asked Natalie if she was ok. He noticed Rudy on the floor and assumed he was throwing a tantrum, as most people assume, but Natalie explained that he has autism and a “host of other challenges making this part of the walk difficult.” That’s when the man decided to do the best thing. He said, “that’s cool I’ll lay down with him,” and that’s exactly what he did!

Photo: Facebook/Better to be Different

The man was able to calm Rudy down from his meltdown and even walked them back to the car.

I think Natalie said it best when she said, “I wish there were more of this man around and I am beyond thankful.”

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