“Sometimes a piece is different from the others, but it still fits in to complete the puzzle.”
The month of April was Autism Awareness month and Miss Kristyn’s grade one class at Waterloo Elementary School spent weeks learning about ASD (Autism Spectrum Disorder). The grade one teacher set upon the topic with one goal in mind, to not only bring awareness but also acceptance. “I want my students to understand what autism is, the challenges it could bring and embrace all differences.”
Children with autism are often misunderstood and bullied as a result of being different. The grade one teacher believes that by bringing autism awareness into the classroom in a positive light she can make a huge difference in promoting acceptance and inclusion.
Throughout the past weeks, the students learned how autism affects a person’s perception, communication, behaviour and social abilities. “There is a difference between being told to be kind and choosing to be kind because we have a deep understanding of our differences.” says Miss Kristyn. The class read storybooks with autistic main characters, designed and created autism awareness t-shirts, and were visited by a guest speaker who has a son diagnosed with ASD.
The grade one teacher was impressed by the student’s eagerness to learn about the topic. “We decided as a class that we would spread the word and advocate for Autism Acceptance. It warms my heart to know my classroom is filled with loving and understanding children.” When asked about the puzzle pieces on her t-shirt, grade one student Ariana explained “Sometimes a piece is different from the others, but it still fits in to complete the puzzle.”