His reality is a mock village where everybody knows him

NEW YORK TIMES, March 9, 2020—The commotion began just as the teenage boy was to pay for his apple juice. He flapped his hands wildly, tugged at the noise-canceling headphones atop his brown curls and then turned to his mother to deliver a head butt. The supermarket cashier stood quietly, her smile unwavering as she patiently waited for the boy’s mood to stabilize. Kenneth Kaufman, 15, has autism, and is something of a regular here in this small grocery store inside LifeTown, a 53,000-square-foot complex dedicated to helping people with autism and other physical and intellectual disabilities to deal with everyday activities.

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