The beautiful gesture of accompanying an employee to a child with autism, who had a crisis while visiting a theme park
Children who have this disorder may occasionally have a crisis, which usually appears when they are stressed or overstimulated. This was what happened to a child with autism while visiting a theme park, but an employee ran to his rescue and accompanied him until his crisis ended.
Lenore Koppelman is the mother of Ralph, a 9-year-old boy who has autism. She and her family were visiting for the first time the Universal Studios theme park in Florida, the United States when the boy had a crisis due to a dislike he had while they were there.
Published on her Facebook account, the mother tells the story of what happened that day, a day that according to her words, she will never forget, especially for the intervention and kindness of Jen Whelchel, one of the employees of the park.
” I want to share something incredibly special with all of you. One day I will never forget, ” Lenora begins, explaining that it was the first time her son Ralph visited that park and that she was proud to be a “neurodiverse” family because of That he has autism.
Although he is wonderful, loving, polite and intelligent, Ralph sometimes has difficulties (don’t we all have them?). When he battles too much, sometimes he may have something known as an “autistic crisis.” Some people who are not educated on the subject of autism may see it as a tantrum. But the reality is that it is not an act of a spoiled and mischievous child. It is a call for help. This is Ralph’s way of saying “I don’t know how to control and regulate my emotions right now. I need help, please! I’m scared! I feel overwhelmed! I want to feel better but I don’t know how to do it.” And then, Jen appeared to the rescue
Lenora then proceeds to explain the reason why Ralph had a crisis that ended up lying on the floor of the park. It turns out that the little boy was waiting all day to get on a Spiderman game, which was at the end of his tour of the place. Throughout the day, he was asking his parents when it would be the turn to get on that attraction, to which they replied that they would soon reach him and that while he enjoyed the other games.
” He was VERY patient for a LONG time. The most patient he could be, ” says Lenora. Finally, when they arrived at the game that Ralph had been waiting for so much, they delivered their special passes so as not to have to queue so much and left to wait for their turn to a nearby place for 15 minutes.
The wait was driving him crazy! But he did his best to regulate it with the tools that have been given to him over the years, thanks to his teachers and his therapy team at his special needs school. All of them, and he are amazing.
When we finally returned to the game, he was jumping for joy. He thought “Oh, wow! Here we are! Finally!” and they should have seen the smile on his face. It was amazing. Then, when our turn to the board was approaching and he could see everything, they gave us the news that the game had broken down. We were all kindly asked to leave. And Ralph understandably lost his cool (wouldn’t you have done it?). My husband and I know the signs. We can see it coming, like a train that is coming. And still, we couldn’t help it. There was no more where to go. The autism crisis was going to happen. AND IT HAPPENED.
Then Ralph threw himself on the floor, while all the people tried to leave the game area, crying, screaming and hyperventilating. And while Lenora tried to lift her son off the ground to avoid being trampled and people could leave, Jen, a local employee, appeared running.
She told me to leave it on the floor if he needed to be there. And then he did this. He lay on the floor WITH HIM. He stood still next to him while he cried inconsolably, and helped him breathe again. He spoke calmly, and while he cried and screamed, she gently told him to take it all out.
He told people to continue walking around them, to stop watching. And then he told him it was okay to be sad and feel that way. She understood. She would feel the same way. His feelings were validated. And she told him that he could lie there with her for as long as it took until he felt better.
Eventually, Ralph felt better and they both rose from the ground. Jen told him that he could take something from the gift shop to make him feel better, and he chose a small notebook with a pen and a Spiderman accessory. She told him she could take something of greater value and suggested other more expensive toys, but he only replied: ” No thanks, I’m fine .” And to his mother’s surprise, Ralph smiled and thanked Jen for everything.
Lenora explains that after the crisis, she talked to Jen and she told him that all the park staff has special training to treat people with autism, as well as other special needs. Upon saying goodbye to her, the whole family went to the customer service area to thank them for what Jen had done for them, and what it had meant so much to everyone, especially Ralph.
Finally, Lenora thanks Jen once again, and appoints other employees in various areas of the park, who were totally friendly and inclusive and served Ralph’s needs in a truly moving way, and asks that her story be shared to recognize everyone Those wonderful people.
The experience of Ralph and his family is a story of love, inclusion, and empathy, something that all families of people with autism should feel wherever they go. Thanks to the training provided by the company to its employees, and by Jen’s kindness, Ralph’s day was saved and the family took a pleasant visit to that theme park, despite not having managed to get the little one to get on The attraction I wanted.