Justin, a 14-year-old with special needs, sits at a computer in the Huguenot Park Library, in Staten Island, and ponders a comprehension quiz about an article he’s just read. The multiple-choice question asks him to fill in the blank: “A packet is a kind of ____.” His choices: Bag, zone, plant, or map. Justin answers incorrectly on his first attempt, so he thinks long and hard before finally settling on “Bag,” then submits his answer. “Fantastic!” says a pop-up message on the screen. “Fantastic!” echo Justin and his teaching aide, who sits next to him, keeping him focused.
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