Leanne Scott and Dale Fuhr cheerfully live the lifestyle of raising a special needs child.
This morning, they also know the gratitude and satisfaction of having a local community work with them to add dignity to that young child’s life.
Seven-year-old Callum and his parents were on hand Friday as a new family restroom and care facility was unveiled at the Sonora Community — a project in which an ordeal Callum had to suffer was the catalyst for change.
“We were in the Sonora to use the library one day and went into the washroom to change his diaper,” explained Leanne of the occurrence last year. “And there wasn’t a space for him.
“Because Callum has to lie down, we had to end up in a cubicle.”
The impromptu space Leanne made for her son was on the cold ceramic floor, Callum’s head inches away from the base of the porcelain commode.
“I think almost anyone on the planet would be bothered by a flush in a porcelain bowl right beside their head over and over and over again,” Leanne said. “(Callum) is especially bothered by them.”
There was, of course, the additional concern about germs and sanitary conditions — and perhaps most importantly the indignity of the ordeal.
Mentioning it to Community Programmer Tamara Morgan brought an immediate response. Tamara got Leanne in contact with her boss, Gerald Davis.
“She changed her son on the floor,” recalled Mr. Davis, the Town’s Director of Community Services. “And when I heard that, it just wasn’t a cool thing.”
He began work with Leanne to develop a suitable space for Callum — and others — to use during visits to the Centre.
“We got that rolling ASAP, put it in place and we’re quite happy with what happened,” he said Friday.
The result is a dedicated space at the front of the building. Contractors combined two special needs restroom facilities into one and the new space was populated with an adult-sized change table, a breast feeding chair and other comforts.
“It’s a work in progress. There are a number of things that we’re still going to do, whether it’s for people with mobility issues, people with vision issues, hearing issues,” said Mr. Davis. “That’s stuff that we’ll address as we go on.”
So far, the Town has invested about $7,000 in the improvements. It’s money well-spent, Mr. Davis said.
“From what I’ve heard, there are very few facilities like the Sonora Centre that would have something like this,” he said. “It just doesn’t exist. We’re leading the way.”
Leanne is also happy with the progress made at the facility.
“There are so many reasons a washroom like this need to happen,” she said. “We really tried our best to think of as many uses for this little space as we could.”
She said she’s also happy with the Town’s response to her request.
“I reached out one time and it was done,” she said. “It was just ‘what do you need?’ ”