The coffee shop at Woodrow Wilson Middle School is serious about service with a smile. When Edward Lin, a seventh grader, stared silently at his feet the other day instead of greeting a customer, his teacher prodded him.

 “How can I help you?” the boy mumbled, still staring at his feet.

His teacher prodded him again. Edward looked up. Then he wrote out the customer’s order and, finally, broke into a smile, braces and all. Edward is in a special class for children with autism or multiple learning disabilities that is charged with running the coffee shop every Friday morning, reports the...

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