This is a true story. A Mexican indian, Ildefonso, lived completely isolated from the rest of the world for over 25 years because he was born deaf and had never been taught any language. Susan Schaller, a 24-year-old graduate student, found him sitting alone in a corner of the classroom where classes were being held for the deaf. He looked lost, but yearning, and highly intelligent, and she became determined to reach him. Her first, and hardest, task was to get him to realize that there is such a thing as language, and then she had to teach him how to use it.
The Philadelphia Inquirer said, "Compelling...A Man Without Words takes on life's biggest questions--language, socialization, group identification, what it means to be human."
More or less from the cover: For more than a quarter of a century, Ildefonso, a Mexican Indian, lived in total isolation, set apart from the rest of the world because he was born deaf and had never been taught even the most basic language. A twenty-year old graduate student first encountered him in a class for the deaf, where she had mistakenly been sent as an interpreter...Something in his face captured her imagination, adn she became determined to reach him...[She] finally broke through the barrier to teach Ildefonso--first, that language existed, and then, how to use it.