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Unique Cloverdale family pins hopes on contest
In most respects, the Taylors are an everyday family of six. But they’re also unique in that they have four kids, and three of their “kiddos” are children with special needs, says mom Bobbi.
Son Joe, 9, is on the autism spectrum. Daughter Kristen, 8, has been deaf since birth, and also has an autism diagnosis, Bobbi says.
Courtney, 6, is “our little spitfire” while their littlest, Kenny, 4, was born premature and has a range of physical and developmental delays – an “alphabet soup of diagnoses,” says Bobbi.
But those challenges have only served to make Bobbi and her husband Gary stronger parents. They feel fortunate to have met many people who have helped them navigate the inevitable speed bumps that have come along the way – such as the support networking group, the Fraser Valley FiT Network.
“We have learned that we are a normal everyday family doing everyday normal things,” she says. “But with a twist.”
The oldest three children attend Cloverdale Traditional School, and Kenny, their youngest, attends preschool three days a week. It’s a busy, full life for the Cloverdale family. And transportation is key.
The Taylors are used to devising their own mobility solutions. And it seems nothing much nothing slows them down when it comes to shopping for school clothes or running errands.
“There is just a bit more planning,” Bobbi says, listing clothing swaps, on-line shopping, and arranging errands around Kenny’s pre-school schedule as examples of how they manage their day-to-day affairs.
“We have made it work. We don’t really know anything different, really.”
They love to go camping, she adds, usually staying in the same spots where people and staff know them.
They also try to plan outings with family members, such as Gary’s sister, who is very involved with the kids, Bobbi says.
“When we’re out, Kenny seems to be able to engage everyone with his bright smile and happy eyes,” Bobbi says. “It makes me so proud to see how his smile can melt the hearts of all.”
The Taylors are currently getting around in a full-size Yukon SUV – a replacement for the family’s mini-van, which wouldn’t accommodate Kenny’s pediatric wheelchair.
“We figured holding off on a wheelchair accessible vehicle was a better plan, as Kenny was only two and still quite small to transfer,” Bobbi says.
Now that Kenny is four, it’s increasingly evident that day has arrived.
That’s why the Taylors have entered a contest sponsored by the National Mobility Equipment Dealers Association, a non-profit organization working to expand mobility options for people with disabilities.
In light of National Mobility Awareness month in May, the association is giving away custom wheelchair accessible vehicles to raise awareness and show that there are mobility solutions for people with disabilities.
A wheelchair accessible vehicle – or home – would really come in handy.
“We’re aware that there are charities available to help supplement a vehicle conversion,” Bobbi says. “We had chosen two years ago to hold off on the charities and conversion at that point, as most of the grants are a one-time grant. And, Kenny being as young and as little as he was, we wanted to ensure that the need was a necessity and not a want at that time.”
Voting in the 2014 National Mobility Month Local Hero contest began March 11 and closes May 9. Winners will be announced in June.
To vote for the Taylors, visit http://www.mobilityawarenessmonth.com/entrant/bobbi-taylor-surrey-bc.