Niki loves the change HIPPY has brought to her life
When Niki and her family first moved to Frankston North, they were socially isolated and she was worried about how her four children three with disabilities would develop socially and academically. Then she found HIPPY. “Straight away I thought, ‘this looks awesome’,” says Niki.
Krystal, now in Year 6, did HIPPY for two years. “She went from being quite a shy little girl who had trouble making friends to a sassy, confident child. It made such a noticeable difference to her. She was behind with things and HIPPY helped bring her up to speed,” says Niki.
HIPPY has also been enormously positive for Maeya, Niki’s youngest daughter, who has autism. “It has done wonders for her. It has helped her overcome a lot of obstacles.” Niki is also a HIPPY Tutor and the experience of doing that work has had a positive flow-on effect to her older son who has autism because she has been able to support him with learning and in developing skills to regulate emotions.
HIPPY aims to strengthen families’ engagement with local community. It helps expand their networks and increases access to local resources. Niki believes that the beauty of HIPPY is that parents – mainly mothers – see not only a change in their children but also a change in themselves.
“They make friendships and connections and that is good for the whole community. HIPPY has given me the skills to be a better person not just as a mother and Tutor, but also when I interact with people on a daily basis. The HIPPY program is a wonderful experience for all the family.”
The Home Interaction Program for Parents and Youngsters (HIPPY) is our national home-based, early learning parenting and employment program for families with four and five-year-old children. Parents are empowered as their child’s first teacher to prepare their child for school by creating a home-learning environment. Working with 65 community organisations, HIPPY operates in 100 communities across Australia, with funding from the Federal Government.