Long after lunchtime one recent afternoon, John Cosentino sat at his usual table, eating his usual snacks. On this day, he was the only resident of the Brooklyn Developmental Center in its cavernous cafeteria, drafty and lit with the bleakness of an earlier era.
His father, Tony Cosentino, arranged fruit salad, nuts and pretzels on a paper plate, which John grabbed. Mary Ann Cosentino spoon-fed her son yogurt.
“Very good, John!” she said.
She tensed when John started waving his left hand near his forehead, past the ear he long ago mutilated and the blue eye blinded in a fall at the center. This was his sign that he might hit himself. Instead, he gestured for his white mitts from his L.L. Bean canvas bag monogrammed “J C,” and put them on. Then he suddenly stood up and pushed back his chair. Visit over.
Read the whole story at nytimes.com.