Cyclabilities was a life saver!
We were really lucky to be offered a place in Cyclabilities at a critical time for my family and its needs. At the time we had three children aged 5, 3 and 1. Our eldest child was having difficulties coping at school due to his additional needs and it was resulting in him fleeing across busy roads. Despite being taught road safety daily on our way to school each morning, the information didn’t seem to be having an impact. Cyclabilities fixed that. We went from weekly phone calls from the school or afters telling us that our child had almost been hit by a vehicle because he hadn’t looked, to reports that he was now at least pausing and checking the road for traffic. This was an unbelievable improvement that occurred in less than 6 weeks.
On top of the program saving our child’s life and increasing his safety it was a fantastic place to be. The staff were welcoming and inspiring and it was a place where we could finally feel like we belonged. There was no judgement or criticism, but rather encouragement and praise for all achievements made. They reduced the stress and anxiety I often feel when taking a child with additional needs out to events, and welcomed all abilities and frustrations with patience. Despite the program being full of challenges, it was tailored to each individual child and was full of many small achievements along the way to a greater success. It was so very rewarding for my eldest child and also for me, as a parent, to see him succeed and watch the emotions of happiness and pride cross his face. In a world where our children are often set to “fail” this was their chance to shine through determination and with support. This program provided me with many moments of pride and had me shedding secret tears of joy along the way.
Throughout the program I watched the amazing staff work with the challenging behaviours my son threw at them and turn them around to inspire him to succeed. They appealed to his competitiveness and worked with his inability to remain on task for long periods of time and achieved success. By the end of the program my son could cross a road safely (my main reason for participating in the program) and had even turned “Stop, look and listen” into a song, which has filtered down to my other 2 children and is used when we cross the road daily. Before the program he had also been a bit hesitant about riding his new big bike, but by the end of the program we had lifted the training wheels a bit and he had gotten his confidence back and was even riding up the hill – one of his biggest challenges at the start of the program.
I can’t praise the team or the program enough. It was amazing for us all and reduced what had been a lot of stress in our life, by teaching our boy how to safely cross a road. What I truly loved about the program was how inclusive it all was and how families were encouraged to all come along. It was really special to have the whole family there sharing in the success of our eldest and being able to see the joy and elation on his face with every success. We had siblings, grandparents and parents all come to see this wonderful program that had provided a spark in our child’s life.
I am forever grateful for the way Cyclabilities changed our life and for the inspiration and influence it still has in our lives 12 months later.