I was at the park with my daughter the other day and a young man was there who had developmental disabilities. He was probably 6 feet tall and slender – maybe in his late teens, but he couldn’t quite talk and made noises like “booo” and “huuh” to express himself.
My daughter came over to tell me he scared her. And I said, “You know what I noticed? That man has a grown-up body, but a kid brain. Sometimes people’s bodies grow much faster than their brains.”
Sophia listened carefully to my words while she watched the young man among many other kids at the park. When things are serious, my girl knows and she pays *close* attention. I assured her that he wasn’t trying to be mean and, just like a little kid who might not have words to express himself, he was just making noises. They just might sound a little scarier coming from a big man body than from a little kid.
She said, “Well, he scares me, so I’m not going to be his friend.” I said that was fine. She went back to playing.
Later, she brought up the young man to my husband, who wasn’t at the park. We talked more about how God makes all kinds of different people and people with grown-up bodies and kid brains are just one kind of the people that God makes.
I’m so glad this young man’s family brought him to the park. I don’t know if we explained his condition perfectly, but I was grateful for the chance to try. I anticipate we will chat more about him going forward, and I hope we see him again.