The other night we were at our neighborhood pool. There was a father there with three boys, ages roughly 2, 4 & 6. Towards the end of the evening Nicky and the 4 y.o. were on the tennis courts chasing each other around. Nicky was growling and the boy was laughing. The 6 y.o. then joined them and started calling Nicky "idiot" and the 4 y.o. joined in with "poopyhead." As I was about to intervene the father came and grabbed both boys, berated the boys in the tone of voice usually associated with times when your kids have totally mortified you. After a few minutes of lecturing the father bought the boys over and they apologized to both Nicky & me.
Nicky was oblivious and had thought it was all just good fun. I, on the other hand, was very upset, visibly, so that I couldn't do much more than thank the boys for apologizing. If Nicky was a typical kid, the incident probably would have passed without notice or perhaps escalated with Nicky hurling his own insults. But, he's not, and this is the first time, I've experienced unpleasantness on his behalf.
Could the incident have been handled any differently? The boys' father was so furious I'm not sure they understood why their father were so angry. Not having overheard what he said to the, did he explain that Nicky has a disability? Should I have said anything? And, how to prepare for the next unpleasantness of this sort?