This morning I first read about a mother of a 24 year old guy with Fragile X who spent some time at a baseball social event, for a team where he serves as "manager" (an honorary position, and I should probably also put honorary in quotes here, because it's not really given in an effort to honor. From what I've seen, when a person with cognitive disabilities is given a position like this, it's a halfhearted attempt to include someone who doesn't have the ability to understand the rules and play the game, but wants to be involved, so they throw this bone at him, and then sit back and feel like they've done a good deed.)
Sorry, I'm a little annoyed and disappointed and got off on a tangent there, and I don't feel like editing or cleaning up this post, so I'll just keep going. Anyway, this 24 year old guy knew very well he wasn't really part of the team and his mother had to sit there and watch him, watching the others, knowing he knew he wasn't one of the gang and feeling ignored, and alone.
It's one thing for people to ignore the kid. It's another for him to know it.
I don't know that it's the team's fault. They are behaving the way they were raised, and doing what is comfortable and natural for them, and that is, socializing with people they know can communicate back in the same, predictable, easy way. They don't know how to talk to people with cognitive disabilities, so they don't.
I think we have all done it. We were all young and lacking in social confidence, once.
So I don't know what the answer is here. Part of me wants to tell the mother to take him somewhere else to socialize, somewhere he'll be accepted and appreciated, with people who will make him feel good about himself. Another part wants her to make sure he is out and about where society sees him and has to deal with him, because isolation won't help the rest of this world learn how to live with this kid, and others like him. But I certainly don't like the idea that he feels bad, and I don't like the idea that we might have to sacrifice our own kids' happiness and confidence in order to educate the rest of the world. There's no easy fix here.
The second thing didn't hit home quite as closely, but it irritated me anyway. I was just reading about how race car driver Tony Stewart hit and killed another driver last night during a dirt car race, and races will go on today, and Tony Stewart will race, and it's business as usual today in the world of racing, with everyone of course sending the requisite "thoughts and prayers" to the family of the guy who was killed. Thoughts and prayers, my butt. I always wish there was a better way to say that, because everyone says "thought and prayers" and the words seem hollow and meaningless. And in this case, I thnk they totally are. Business as usual, huh? I don't think Tony Stewart is alone in blame for this tragedy, the guy who was killed acted like a reckless idiot - but they all did. The sport in itself is centered around reckless idiots, in my opinion. Racing around in loose dirt in a pumped up car that is practically deliberately built to flip and roll and be difficult to maneuver? That's what I see. Everyone who does it is a reckless fool. But whatever. To each his own.
But where's the respect for human life here? For each other? In both cases? Are we a modern, civilized society? Not so much, in a lot of instances.