Mom praises theme park worker for compassionate response to autistic son's 'meltdown'
A mother has heaped praise on a theme park worker for their compassionate reaction at a crucial time; after her autistic son had a "meltdown".
Lenore Koppelman was on vacation with her family in Florida, including her nine-year-old son Ralph, when they decided to round the trip off at the popular Universal Studios Orlando Resort, and Ralph in particular was looking forward to the Spider-Man ride at the Islands of Adventure. But when they arrived, the Koppelman family found out the ride was closed for the day.
"Ralph, understandably, lost it," explained Koppelman in a Facebook post later on, and from experience, they knew what was coming next. "Ralph collapsed onto the floor while crowds of people were attempting to exit the ride and the gift shop attached to it. He began sobbing, screaming, rocking, hyperventilating, and truly struggling to breathe."
But then, a compassionate women named Jen who worked at Universal Studios came over to help, and did something that this mom will never forget.
"A woman who worked there named Jen came over... no... no, she RUSHED over... and while I frantically kept trying to get him to stand up so he wouldn't get trampled on by people, she encouraged me to leave him on the floor if that is where he needed to be. Then she did this. She got down on the floor WITH HIM."
"She spoke to him so calmly, and while he screamed and sobbed, she gently kept encouraging him to let it all out. She told people to keep on walking around them, so they would stop standing there and staring," Koppelman continued, saying that Jen did her best to validate her son's feelings, and this was enough for Ralph to eventually calm down.
Jen then gave Ralph the chance to have anything for free from the gift store, and even after his meltdown, Ralph found it in him to smile and thank Jen for all her help, and Ralph's mother wasn't far behind in her effusive praise of the Universal Studios worker.
"But what a relief it was that it was over. Thanks to Jen, and her knowledge about what to do. I asked her how she knew how to do that, and she told me that everyone at Universal Studios gets special training when it comes to people who are awesomely autistic, as well as other special needs.
I hugged her for the LONGEST time... several times, if I'm being honest. And then the entire family left the store and marched straight over to customer relations without a single pit-stop, to sing Jen's praises."
Children with special needs can be challenging at the best of times, but with incredible people like Jen to help, that challenge is a little