The Batchelor Family

“It was a big jump for me; sharing a room with my daughter to now being able to put her in her room because I have my own room. It was good, very good.”

Crystal had struggled as a single mom on her own, raising her son, Taylor, who is physically challenged, confined to a wheelchair, for years living in rental units that had been restricting her son’s ability to discover his own independence. Now, both Crystal and Taylor have gained a new understanding of ‘freedom’ since Habitat was able to help make a positive change in their lives. Before construction of their home was completed in 2008, Crystal, Taylor and baby Avaiah had no other option than to move into the family homestead. With Great-Grandpa, Grandma, Grandpa, Crystal’s sister, herself and the two children under one roof, Crystal explains, “It wasn’t the best of situations, I mean everybody got along, it was kosher that way, it was just tight spaces. Who wants to live with their parents when they’ve got two kids and a life of their own?”

Crystal knew her family needed a decent and safe place to live that would accommodate Taylor’s special needs and rental units simply had not been able to provide them with that. In 2005, Crystal took the first step towards achieving this goal when she applied to Habitat for an interest-free mortgage that would be geared to her income. A few months later Crystal received the great news that her family had been approved for their home.

Taylor’s life was in great jeopardy when he was born eight weeks premature. He has been living with a form of Cerebral Palsy which affects his entire body, called, spastic quadriplegic cerebral palsy. In order to accommodate her son’s special needs, the house that Habitat was able to build for Crystal and her family was designed to specifically suit a person with limited mobility and is different than all the other houses on their street. Crystal explains, “We have an open concept, so as soon as you come in our backdoor, it’s all open; there’s the bathroom, bedrooms, the kitchen, the living room and it’s all open, so he can get to any one of them.”

In 2006, about 200,000 Canadian families were coping with the challenges that arise from caring for a child with disabilities. These challenges are diverse in nature, and can affect many aspects of life.⁰ Parents experienced stress in trying to balance the responsibilities of caring for their child with an activity limitation and other obligations, such as work. ¹ It is no doubt that life has improved for the Batchelor family since they moved into their home, yet if you ask Crystal about living in their Habitat Home, she quite modestly says, “it hasn’t really changed anything, other than the freedom of mobility for my son, Taylor. It’s nice knowing that you’re a home owner, it’s more of a peace of mind thing than it is anything else, for me anyways.”

⁰ ¹ Participation and Activity Limitation Survey: Impact on families