20 January 2011

Ideas, Please!

There's a young man at our library who says Maggie is his best friend. He actually says this about several of the preschoolers. You can truly see him just light up when kids arrive to play with him in the children's area of the library, which includes a mini kitchen and a puppet stage.

But the young man is in his early 20s (23, I think). He is developmentally on par with a 10 or 11 year old, though. He used to sit in the mall and color in his notebook about Super Mario, but some of the kids made fun of him, so he started walking to the library every day instead. He would sit quietly at the puzzle tables in the children's area of the library, until his friends came by and they could all play. Sometimes it would be a few days without his friends, and he would be sad. Each day he continued to walk to the library around the time they opened, and walk back home when his dad got home from work around 3PM or so. He never ate at the library, because it wasn't allowed. The librarians invited him to eat in the break room with them, but he refused because to his 10 year old mind, rules are rules. No food in the library.

The problem for which I'm seeking possible solutions started around the holidays. The young man has been asked to sit at the other end of the library, down by the research area. He says it's quiet, and he's sad. He's asked the librarians to tell him whenever his friends come in, but of course that's not practical.

I'm not sure exactly why he was asked to move, but I would guess that an adult male playing with preschoolers made some parents uncomfortable. I really wouldn't want people to avoid the library for such a reason.

What other options are there for a special young man like this to spend his days pleasantly, without potentially offending someone else? He's too young for adult day-care type centers, and doesn't have obvious disabilities, which would make him too 'healthy' for a center for special needs people. What else is there for him? If you have any ideas, I'd love to hear them!


siteseer said...

I thought the library was the ideal solution. Too bad they felt the need to have him move.

Tammy said...

How sad :( To bad his parents couldn't hire someone to "play" babysit him a couple hours a couple of days a week. I would not have my 11 year old out and about all day, maybe he shouldn't be either.