Mockingbird has been a saving grace for my son and our whānau. Before coming here I had majors concerns about the wellbeing of my son. Since coming here I have seen a drastic improvement in his confidence and overall wellbeing. The team at MB provide a safe haven for our whānau that we have not found elsewhere. That support and environment is rare and extremely valuable and should be available to all special needs families.
Kylie - March 2023
Millie couldn’t attend school because of the loud busy atmosphere. Mockingbird allowed her to make friends and connections with people in a quiet, safe space. She was very lonely homeschooling and the few hours she attended Mockingbird made her feel happy and a part of a community with people who understood her. Kate - March 2023
My son was miserable and fed up in mainstream school. I believe he has been able to continue to attend mainstream school as he can also attend Mockingbird to decompress and feel accepted and loved exactly as he is. I also feel accepted and loved for who I am with no one judging my unique parenting style, in fact meeting others who often successfully parent in their unique way. It’s done wonders for my mental health and has been a part of the reason that has enabled me to come off antidepressants successfully.
Anon - March 2023
We have been with Mockingbird almost since they began running many years ago. When we discovered our older daughter had ADHD and challenges at school, they were a really big emotional support to us as a family. As her older brother struggled with his own ADHD and ASD traits, they were also there to help him and listen. Now we attend with our youngest son, who also has ASD, ADHD and Tourette’s. It’s been such a hard journey and one that I’m not sure we would have managed to get through in one piece as a family, without the constant opportunity to reach out to Mockingbird.
Even through this last winter and COVID the team has adapted to find the most effective and helpful way to support their Mockingbird families. Having supplies and grocery bags available has been a Godsend and the consistent place of welcome and belonging and support is irreplaceable.
The opportunity of the venue allowing children to be able to swim every day is tremendous. Miles is always most comfortable in the water as it soothes his tics and helps him exercise. Being able to play and enjoy the support dogs is another huge part of his love for Mockingbird.
He is always looked after by the team and has had some really valuable conversations about his challenges with them over the years. Most especially over the last year as his Tourette’s really started and became so confronting. Mockingbird is like a family to us and we wouldn’t be without them. It is an utterly unique organisation whom we are so thankful for.
Andrea Green - March 2023
We started in 2019 when my son needed a break from attending mainstream schooling, it was a life saver for my son. Since then we have moved into Te Kura homeschooling and continued to go 1-3 days depending on circumstances. My son struggles to get out at times yet Mockingbird has always been a place he can call home. The staff know him well and like all other children that attend they allow them (children) to be who they are with no judgement. The team at mockingbird always support a good environment that teachers respect for everyone and have implanted along the way excellence life skills, from communication, arts, music, games, community connections, outings, gardens, play, lovely lunches, food parcels to help families, consultation support when needed, and so much more. The team at mockingbird go over and above to help this organisation stay together, their efforts do not go unnoticed. Mockingbird is so needed in our community and I will help support them in anyway to continue for all the neurodiverse child out there. Thanks so much for All you do.
Lana - March 2023
We joined Mockingbird in the very beginning, years ago & still find it the most inclusive and accepting social space we attend.
The benefits reach all our family as not only for our children, I, as the parent find the nurturing & non judgemental environment so helpful in feeling positive & accepted.
It's pretty special to go somewhere where you feel safe and loved, regardless of how you or your children are that day. Nothing is a problem at Mockingbird!
We couldn't do without it.
Thank you Mockingbird.
Ange - March 2023
We have been attending MB for 2 years now and I say “we” because it is not only a safe inclusive environment for my son but it is also a place where I can relax and talk to other parents and staff who give me great advice and make me feel we are all a family. My teen son was bullied at school but here he feels safe, included and respected by everyone. He can just relax with headphones on and play games on his laptop or participate in swimming and outdoor games. There are adults there he can talk to about things he may find difficult to speak about at home. All of the staff are great role models and really care about our kids… and when the lunch comes out all I can say is yum! Thanks to the awesome team there, our lives are much better because of you.
Brigitte Redman - February 2022
We started in primary school when my daughter was starting to struggle with social interaction and distancing herself from her peers. This is a safe place where kids can be themselves with no judgement and be with likeminded children who also do not judge or bully their peers. I can be myself as mum and express our frustrations, get advice and a shoulder to lean on. It’s a special community within a community!!
Monique - February 2022
My child started Mockingbird when he was 12. He is now approaching young adulthood.
Mockingbird has helped him feel comfortable around his peers, something he struggled with greatly beforehand in the mainstream environment and out in public.
With the safety, acceptance, and care that Mockingbird has provided him, he will now be taking a sense of belonging and ability to interact with others around him, into his late teens/early twenties.
AR - December 2020
We started attending Mockingbird from the very first session in February 2016. We knew immediately this was a part of our home-schooling life that would prove to be invaluable. We needed our son to be in a safe and fun environment without the pressures of school. The bonus was the wonderful other parents involved who were on the journey with us. Over the years we have been involved or had periods where we stepped away. Upon return we realised we need this group. The children (both mine now attend) are happy at Mockingbird. They feel accepted, valued, and love the ease of socialising in this environment. The operations team are fantastic and adjust according to the needs of the children. My children are excited and happy to attend, they feel relaxed there, they enjoy the fact they can tap “in” or “out” to those there on that day, depending upon their needs. This allows self-management. The major bonus, as a parent, is we all support each other, accept each other’s children, and help each other with advice.
AB - December 2020
We started at Mockingbird in January 2017.
I was looking for a group where my daughter could make some friends. Social situations are hard for her and Mockingbird never pushed her to a kid’s area or to join in with activities. She was allowed to sit with me and play on her laptop. Eventually without any pressure my daughter started talking to other kids and moved away from me to a quiet room to play online games with the friends. She has made good friends and feels comfortable to be herself. She is able to speak her mind and is happy for me to leave the building to get her lunch, something she has never done before.
Mockingbird has given me a time where I can relax and a chance to talk with other Mum's who understand my daughter. It is nice to know I’m not alone.
Jenni - October 2019
Tamati has been attending Mockingbird on a Wednesday for over a year now..
When we first started he would walk in with his head down and would sit alone, he wouldn't interact with anyone or join in on activities. We now arrive and Tamati is off before I'm even out of the car, he has a smile on his face and says hello to everyone, he goes and sits and talks with his friends, yes friends....
Tamati has always struggled socially, but at Mockingbird he can be himself, it's a place where everyone is accepted and never judged.
Since being at Mockingbird Tamati is doing things he would never have done before, learnt to skateboard, group outings to the hot pools, farm trips, parks, historic village and radio station just to name a few, not only is he going but he is actually joining in and loving it! Tamati is happy...
He is also having trampoline lessons with some of the other boys from Mockingbird, playing in their hockey team, and having swimming lessons and enjoys it! Something I've tried to get him to do for years.
I believe Mockingbird has built Tamati's confidence and has contributed to year 8 going as well as it has to date, it's a huge improvement on year 7.
Nikki - October 2019
Mockingbird has been our whole world this year. It has given us a place to go when school was not an option. It has given us love and support in a non-judgemental way.
My child has been able to relax and de-stress but still be with people. There is nothing like it and we are very grateful.
I feel strongly that these kids who have invisible disabilities need a place like Mockingbird in every community.
Anon - October 2019
Mockingbird was seriously one of those 'a ha' moments, when life was getting a bit scary and 'where to from here?'
When I phoned, Robyn answered and she immediately understood. We drove straight to Mockingbird and felt totally safe and so did Sophia.
I am incredibly grateful to meet other families who understand and have been where we are at.
I now know there is a future out there.
Nicola - October 2019
Towards the end of Term 1 we came along and realised that we had found people walking a similar journey to us.
Ryan had always struggled to form good relationships with classroom peers. Since joining MB, he spends three days a week hanging out and wants more which is heart-warming.
It has been great to have families that we have developed friendships with and socialise with that we can fully relax around. I love our tribe.
Mel Lowe - October 2019
Our daughter was extremely unwell emotionally and school was no longer an option for her. The only choice we had left was to home school. This was a daunting prospect, but her mental health was at crisis point. We couldn’t see a path forward if we had to continue as we were, and certainly not a future for my daughter. Thanks to Mockingbird, home educating has been an amazing and positive experience.
We have a safe, judgment free environment that accepts us and that we feel we belong to. Mockingbird has provided us with a healthy routine to our week for the past 3 years, and the much needed support and awhi we needed. Our daughter now has amazing friends within Mockingbird, and also outside of Mockingbird.
Mockingbird has literally been a life saver for our family. We are extremely grateful to have this community as a part of our lives.
Robyn - February 2018
J has a genetic condition called tuberous sclerosis, this condition causes tubers to grow in his brain and cysts in his kidneys. These growths have caused J to suffer from anxiety as well as showing traits of ADHD and ASD, which he is currently being assessed for.
We first came to Mockingbird nearly two years ago, as attending school became too difficult for him. He feels uncomfortable among groups of people and joining new activities causes him great anxiety. However he has become familiar with the surroundings at Mockingbird, and has been welcomed and not judged.
Attending Mockingbird has given him the opportunity to belong to a group, to interact with others in a safe environment where he doesn’t feel out of place and is accepted for who he is. He has made one particular good friend through Mockingbird and when he chooses to, can join in with activities that he would otherwise not have been able to do. For example roller skating, which he loved, and gave him some much needed confidence. If Mockingbird hadn’t provided this opportunity he would not have done it. If he wishes to, he can join in with a small group on outings to the park or take part in other things like art sessions without any anxiety or pressure.
Mockingbird’s ability to accept J and make him feel secure has given him the chance to belong and gain experiences he would otherwise not have. Mockingbird parents have provided a safe place, shown understanding and comfort when needed. I have a learnt a lot myself from the other parents, learning about other diversities among us as well as what support is available. They have also offered friendship, kindness and understanding.
J and I have been on a long journey of discovery in the last two years and Mockingbird has played a large and significant role in that journey, which I am grateful for. Our journey is not over yet and I am sure Mockingbird will continue to be a part of it.
Anon - February 2018
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