Help The Buddy Club help socially struggling kids
Organized by: Michelle Adams
My son was diagnosed with Autism at 4 yrs old, it was a lot to take and so much endless research. Although some signs were present early on, hearing the diagnosis somehow makes it more real and all the fears and worries come rushing to the forefront. We had just moved to Florida and he was to start preschool, I chose to continue on with a mainstream school. He was very excited as it had just been him & mom & dad up until this point. After 6 months I pulled him out due to him spending most of the day (as I watched by video) all by himself, just pacing. Then he started crying everyday he had to go to school, his tummy would hurt, headaches and sickness most days. Then he told. The kids had been mean to him saying mean things and that they didn't like him and didn't want him playing with them, a few shoved and punched him. I was heartbroken. Talking to teachers didn't help. He would cry instantly upon pulling into the parking lot and beg not to go in, no one liked him, they were all mean. Here I was with my sweet little shy guy that has a tough time making friends, although he wants them desperately and was so excited to go to a school with lots of kids only to have his heart broken by what they said to him. How could I fix this? I had already joined playgroups before, begged for other mothers to meet me with their child so my child could have a friend. It never worked out. Either we would never hear back even from a reply or we would go to a playgroup only to have those kids not care to play with him because he can't keep up , part of his Autism is social skills, speech delays, coordination, fine & gross motor skills. He doesn't talk as plain, run as fast , can't ride a bike or scooter, is afraid of heights, slides, swings and sometimes goes into a meltdown because he is feeling embarrassed. All of this adds up to children and adults not being very nice. I have my own social anxiety and had pushed it all down because my child needed me to do this for him. But no matter how hard I tried it wasn't working. I could see and feel the other mother's looking at me in judgement because after all my son doesn't look like he is Autistic, so he must just be a brat or strange or it must be my parenting right? I'm feeling his pain on top of my own and we would both leave upset. The Dr.'s suggested social skills therapy which seemed to run around $100+ for forced interaction with a couple other kids. We couldn't afford it and I wasn't sure how I felt about forced interaction. Then I had an idea. I couldn't be the only mother in these shoes, there must be others trying desperately to find friends for their kids but feeling ousted by the general community. I needed to find a group that were in our same shoes, facing the same type of issues. A group where I wouldn't get strange looks and comments and neither would my son. We could both be ourself. So Lil' Buddies- The Buddy Club was born. I was focusing on kids in his age range and soon seen how needed this was for all ages, all disabilities, all kids who are struggling socially to make friends. Nothing like this had existed, but the need was overwhelming. I found an attorney that would waive his fees for this great cause to help with filing for a nonprofit but the fees of the non profit itself are quite extensive for a stay at home mom. We also need help with operational costs such as supplies , equipment , fees,etc.. for activities and events. Here's a little about The Buddy Club and how we are trying to change the world and teach more than just tolerance , but acceptability, knowing all people are different but none are less. MAKING FRIENDS. EMBRACING DIFFERENCE. The Buddy Club is a social group for children who find friendship to be a bit of a struggle. This may be due to Autism Spectrum Disorder, Bullying, Shyness,ADD/ADHD, Sensory Processing Disorder or any other Special Need or reason. We are an inclusive group, which means we welcome all children to join us and learn what being a friend is all about. Embracing those that are different from you, but not less. We offer a multitude of play activities, field trips and events along with educational based fun learning. We don't believe in forced interaction so our approach is in creating a low key, no pressure fun environment that will have your child WANTING to participate. We also offer educational classes and seminars for parents in a variety of subjects.