Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Learning to Make College Work for Him

JACKSON HOLE, Wyo. -- Near the end of his morning French class at the University of Wyoming, Johnny Fifles glances at the clock.
“Four minutes,” he says, mechanically, loud enough for all to hear.
The students are filling in missing lyrics to a French song and practicing vocabulary. They raise their hands when they think they have the answers. “Amours.” “Petit.” “Vieux.”
The first-level class is conducted completely in French. Almost.
“Have you ever seen ‘Big Fish’?” Johnny blurts out, in English, to his teacher.
She hasn’t. The class chuckles. She calls on a student.
“One minute,” Johnny says aloud again, putting his stuff away with purpose. He can’t hold himself back in his public speaking class, either.
“I forgot what causes autism again,” he says to a classmate speaking about the benefits of organic produce.
Pesticides, she says.
“Well, I’ve got autism,” Johnny says.

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