Dale Grounds, a single father from Nottingham, England has found a way to help his 8-year-old son when he’s feeling overwhelmed. The 8-year-old, Reece, was diagnosed with autism in 2015 and, since then, Grounds has had to navigate the best way to handle Reece’s moods and calm him when he needs it most.
The perfect way to do that? Dress up as Spiderman. The father discovered the trick after everything else he tried seemed to fail.
“I first started dressing up as Spiderman as a way to calm Reece down. He would have really bad meltdowns which resulted in non-stop crying,” the dad told Metro. “I’d tried everything to help him but nothing seemed to work. Then one day I walked into the living room and he was watching Spiderman and he was so engrossed.”
Having Spiderman around to play with Reece, help him do his homework and more was a great comfort to Reece. And it’s proven to be a comfort for many others, as well. The dad now even visits hospitals dressed as the superhero to help young patients.
“I really enjoy visiting hospitals every week,” Grounds said in a video. “It makes a massive difference in the children.”
He even hopes to start a charity in the future that would raise money for the families whose children are hospitalized, and that would send even more superheroes to hospitals.
Thanks to Grounds’ costume, the dad and the son can be each other’s heroes.
“The reason I started putting on the suit was for my little autistic superhero,” the dad said. “At first it was a superhero taking time out to play with him, then it became his dad putting on a suit to help him through tough times when he didn’t just need his dad, he needed his dad to be his hero.”