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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
My child was extremely unwell emotionally and school was no longer an option. The only choice we had left was to home school. This was a daunting prospect, but thanks to Mockingbird home schooling 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 two years, and the much needed support required.
Mockingbird has literally been a life saver for our family. We are extremely grateful to have this community as a part of our lives.