Perhaps the best way to describe the Sonmor family is “active”. Bill plays hockey and coaches their son Wyatt (age 10 ) in rep hockey. His wife, Alicia plays slo-pitch and basketball. Their youngest son, Connor (age 3) loves to run and swim. And their daughter, Ayla (age 6) is the family “cheerleader” who loves her brothers and gets very excited when she gets to watch Wyatt play hockey.
As often as possible, they try to spend time in the great outdoors and just be together as a family event though Ayla lives with what her mom describes as “exceptionalities”. Ayla lives with spastic diplegic cerebral palsy, autism, epilepsy and a genetic disorder that causes intellectual and global delay. While this means that Ayla needs exceptional care, it has not affected the Sonmor’s love for their daughter/sister, neither has it affected Ayla’s attitude towards life.
“We all adore Ayla,” Alicia says. “She doesn’t have any outward negative behaviours. We are extremely grateful for that.”
Alya’s exceptionalities don’t stop the Somnor’s from doing the activities that they love and because Ayla is such a positive person, it works most of the time. But when Bill and Alicia want a night away as a couple or if they want to do a family outing that the boys would love but would be challenging for Ayla, they turn to Matthew’s House for help.
Matthew’s House is a respite home for children like Ayla who live with complex care needs. Experienced staff provide a safe and loving environment so that parents can feel confident that their child will be well cared for. Recognizing that parents know their children best, staff work with moms and dads to create care plans that are unique to each child. Alicia says that Ayla loves her visits to Matthew’s House.
“When the elevator doors open and she realizes where she is, she is ecstatic. She immediately heads to the play room to see if all her favourite things are still there.” Alicia, Ayla’s mom
Knowing that Ayla enjoys her visits, that she’ll be safely cared for, and that staff give that care with love – all of this gives Alicia and Bill peace of mind. Alicia says it’s making a difference to her whole family.
“Matthew’s House gives us the opportunity to recharge, and just be free,” Alicia says. “But the most rewarding, awesome part is watching Wyatt’s face light up when we pick Ayla up. That’s when we realize how much he’s missed his sister, how much he loves her. It makes this Mama’s heart swell with love.”