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Autism support group growing

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A new autism support group has been started in International Falls and residents of Fort Frances and surrounding areas are invited to join.

“I’ve learned so much and it [is] so fun swapping stories,” organizer Jennifer Hill posted on the group’s Facebook page.

“Best part, watching the kids actually interact with each other.”

The International Falls Autism Support Group meets each Monday from 6-7:30 p.m. at the First Assembly of God Church (across from Dairy Queen).

Parents and kids are welcome.

“And all ages are welcome,” stressed Fort Frances resident Barb Stainke.

“If they are an adult autistic person, they can come, as well,” she noted.

Stainke said Fort Frances has been trying to get something similar started here.

“Then a bunch of us were invited to go over to International Falls and they want all of Fort Frances to come, as well,” she remarked.

“They are finding out that we have a lot of programs that they can come to and vice-versa.

“There are a lot of programs in our area, but no one is giving emotional support to the families,” Stainke added.

“So this is working out really well for our community.”

Stainke noted the group first met in November. Hill has an autistic son and felt like she was all alone.

“She felt like there was no one to help her,” said Stainke. “She has said, ‘We thought we were the only ones.’”

But she added they already have a pretty good membership started.

The group is planning to organize different events each month, including yoga, swimming, sledding, skiing, horseback riding, and plenty of guest speakers.

They have taken turns bringing snacks for the kids and bring their own beverages.

“The theory is the more, the merrier,” Stainke said.

“As people in Fort Frances find out more about it, it’s going to really grow,” she added.

For more information, visit “I Falls Autism Support Group” on Facebook.

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