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Second-graders learn lessons in autism

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POLSON — Wearing headbands with paper brains attached, Kris Nordberg’s 24 second-graders were attentive when she talked to them about autism.

According to the medical encyclopedia on, “Autism is a lifelong disorder that interferes with the ability to understand what is seen, heard and touched. This can cause profound problems in personal behavior and in the ability to relate to others.” 

Since that definition may be hard for second-graders to understand, Nordberg discussed autism with her students. Bright lights or loud noises, Nordberg explained, sometimes bother children with autism. 

“Should we not be friends with kids who are autistic?” Nordberg asked. 

“No,” the class said in unison. “We should be friends.”

Since April is Autism Awareness Month, the youngsters constructed pins to wear on their shirts and jackets.

Jigsaw puzzle pieces in primary colors are the symbol for autism awareness and represent the mystery and complexity of autism. Previously the students had painted jigsaw puzzle pieces yellow, blue and red, and now they attached one puzzle piece in each color to a sticky pin. The kids also received an autism ribbon pin from community member Kristy Humble, whose grandson is autistic.

“Now when someone asks you about your pin, you can tell them about autism,” Nordberg told the class.


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