Image Credit: Dave Chidley
Elizabeth sits in the Snoezelen Room, surrounded by a shimmering light curtain, at the Community Living centre in London, Ontario. She spends four days a week there with her support worker and friend, Diana Lindsay-Roden.
"The Snoezelen is all about light and sensory stimulation. For Elizabeth, it's brilliant because she's very tactile and this is a room where you can leave your inhibitions at the door and play."
Elizabeth turned forty-four in November 2008. Her intellectual disability cannot be easily defined; her mother thinks a severe febrile seizure at age three was likely the trigger. When her husband died, Community Living called and offered Elizabeth a spot in their Day Program. She says it was a lifesaver, and it continues to be a place of love, friendship and gentle support.
Diana says it is her privilege to help. "Told her daughter would never walk or talk, Elizabeth's mum used Jelly Tots to coax her to make one step, then two, then three. Elizabeth has a few words; for the rest, she communicates with her body, her eyes and her heart. Can't we all learn something from that? I hope these photographs will help people understand."