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Making the Transition

Cassidy Ediger celebrated her 19th birthday in January and her parents, Carolyn and Scott celebrated this milestone birthday together with Cassidy and her two younger brothers. The Edigers love their daughter and the joy she brings to their family.

“She has a contagious giggle,” Carolyn says. “She’s really taught us a lot about appreciating the little things in life.”

Like all children who visit Matthew’s House, Cassidy lives with complex care issues that makes her dependent on others for every aspect of daily living. Cassidy was born with cerebral palsy. She gets around using a wheelchair. She is tube fed and non-verbal although she is very good at communicating when offered simple choices, giving yes or no answers. Music and movies are favourite activities and she loves swimming and going for long walks.

Raising a child with special needs has been both challenging and rewarding. Carolyn says that Cassidy has taken her down a road she would not have explored otherwise. When Cassidy was born, Carolyn was just finishing her education to become a teacher. She continued to teach after Cassidy was born but when the boys came along, Carolyn took a break from work. When she returned to the work force, it was to work part time with children who have special needs, just like Cassidy. She has also coached gymnastics with Special Olympics.

I probably would not have done any of these things if it had not been for Cassidy. – Carolyn, Cassidy’s mom

She’s had an impact on her brothers as well. They are both sensitive to other children with disabilities and will defend them when others make insensitive or disparaging remarks.

The Edigers readily recognize the value of the many kinds of resources that exist to support families like theirs. Matthew’s House has been such a resource.

When Cassidy was younger, her grandparents helped a lot, offering to care for her so that Carolyn and Scott could get a break. But as Cassidy has grown and her care become more complex it’s been harder for aging grandparents to provide that care. So when Matthew’s House opened its doors in 2013, the timing was perfect.

Having a place for Cassidy to stay where she is safely and lovingly cared for means that Carolyn and Scott have been able to continue to do things they would not have been able to do otherwise – like go away for a weekend or take their sons on outings that would not be possible for Cassidy.

“Matthew’s House is so special,” Carolyn says. “The staff are so knowledgeable and experienced.”

Now that Cassidy is 19, her parents are doing what they can to make the transition from childhood to adulthood a smooth one. And to parents may feel nervous about leaving their child in the care of others, Carolyn offers some encouragement.

“I always felt confident leaving Cassidy at Matthews House. Cassidy has had both short and long stays there, which was a welcome break from the constant care she requires.  It was reassuring to know that Cassidy was being provided with excellent care and attention.  We will all miss the wonderful staff at Mathews House.”


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