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The Hazel Center

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"Mom why am I so stupid? Nobody likes me. The other guys just say I'm annoying. I just don't want to exist anymore so nobody is bothered by me." - Sam 8 yrs old.

I just wanted to share this realilty because I think it is important for everyone to have some insight so you can see why this group is so important to us and every other family that is struggling with Autism Spectrum Disorders. We are not the only parents to have had this conversation with our young child with high functioning autism/asperger's syndrome. As a parent it is heart breaking and you just want to fix it but you can't. So while we were begging the therapist to help make this better and help our child understand how very much he is loved we have been faced with the same response, "Your son needs to be part of a group. He needs a sense of belonging." While I agreed, there was no where he belonged. The autism groups that we tried, while nice and helpful, weren't really a good fit, and they weren't helping him grow or make connections. Then we tried baseball and soccer and he could quickly see that he didn't fit there either. He would say, "Mom, all the other guys are faster, they play better, I can't do this." Almost every game ended or began with tears. We searched and searched for a place for him to be comfortable and confident so he might make friends and feel like he belonged. After much searching and trying many different avenues, it became clear to us that if we wanted this type of group, we would have to start one. Here we are, present day and our group is coming together, I am excited not only for our son, but for all of the children that this group is benefiting. Every child needs to have a sense of belonging and a "feel free to be themselves" environment, and I truly believe this group is providing that for all involved. What makes our group unique is that not only do we have a group for our children to find belonging,and an environment to work on different skills, but we are be providing simultanious parent and sibling support as well. I believe that everyone in the family needs support. Autism is tough for every family member. Our group is growing and I couldn't be happier but we really need support to keep it moving forward.  Anything that you can offer will really help. This is the first time in Sam's life that he feels good about going to participate in a group activity. This is a wonderful thing I really want to continue to help it grow. The money we raise will be going toward a facility of our own so that we can continue to grow and help as many families as possible. Thank you for taking the time to read this and for helping in any way possible. 


Lorri Shockey Navarro
Noblesville, IN

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