‘I was told that children like mine should not be allowed out’.

The mother of an autistic boy has praised the help of a passer by who stepped in to help her son. Natalie had taken her five and a half year old son Rudy to Southend Sea front for a a walk last week, when on the return walk to the car Rudy had a ‘meltdown’. He began to get very upset and laid on the floor when passer by Ian stopped and asked if he was okay.

She told the Havering Daily: “Rudy likes to walk in a circuit and was starting to get upset on the way back and had a meltdown. Ian came by and asked if he was okay. At that stage I couldn’t really be bothered to explain that he wasn’t so just carried on. Then Ian asked Rudy what his name was and I had to explain that he was autistic and couldn’t really answer him. At that point Ian also laid on the floor with Rudy and began to talk to him.”

The kind stranger spent his time chatting to the five year old and then took his hand and walked him back to their car. “I was so grateful for his help. He didn’t pass any judgement, he just laid down and began to help.”

Natalie has had her fair share of unpleasant comments from ignorant people who do not understand Rudy’s condition and are quick to judge her and her husband’s parenting skills.

“In the early days before Rudy’s diagnosis, he would have very aggressive meltdowns that were hard to deal with. It changes your life. We can’t just pop into a restaurant or go for a walk. Everything has to be planned. For us, we had to deal with parenting in a different way. We really had to learn new parenting skills.

“It has been hard and we have faced a lot of judgement from people who don’t understand. I have been told ‘children like yours shouldn’t be allowed out’, or ‘you’ve got no control shut your son up.’ All these remarks hurt. I was in the supermarket queue when I heard a couple bitterly complaining about my son and his behaviour, that really upset me.

“There are some kind people, they often have children with special needs so they understand what it is like to be in that position. I had a lady once put her arm around me and tell me I was doing a great job. I was so grateful. People are so quick to judge when they see my son kicking and biting. I am my son’s world and when something goes wrong and he is completely overwhelmed he turns to me.

“All parents like me ask is that you don’t pass judgement and stare at us. Come up and ask us if we are okay then we can explain but please don’t judge without knowing the facts. Please think first.”

Rudy attends a special school and has just recently learnt to communicate through the help of pictures.

Parents like Natalie are amazing people who do a fantastic job everyday. Natalie will be writing a column in the Havering Daily to share her learning with us.

Ian with Rudy.

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