Mom thanks 'hero' stranger

Mom thanks ‘hero’ stranger who laid down with her autistic son to calm him during a meltdown

Being neurodivergent in a neurotypical world can be challenging, particularly as a child, where you are still learning about the world around you and have a limited knowledge of how to interact within it. What may seem simple to some, such as turning around on a route to go home after a walk, may not be processed the same way on an emotional level by others.

Such was the case with five-year-old Rudy while on a walk with his mother, Natalia Fernando. Fernando understands her son’s reaction to turning back on a walk, and would often choose a circular route for walks to allow her son to enjoy the outdoors without this stressor. However, his favorite route, passing boats, would be inaccessible with this strategy.

During a walk on this route, Rudy reacted to turning away from the boats, drawing negative attention from surrounding people, who were not sympathetic toward either Rudy or Fernando. This shows a lack of kid-friendly and nerodivergent-friendly rhetoric in our day-to-day lives that is unfortunately commonplace. However, this experience had a positive ending for mother and son due to one compassionate and understanding stranger. A passing man, Ian, stopped and laid on the ground with Rudy and spoke with him until the boy managed to calm down. He could have walked on, reasoning this would have been none of his business. But he chose to be kind. Thankfully that is what will be remembered, not judgement or inaction.

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