Monday, March 28, 2016

Visiting Ty

Some common questions that I have gotten over the last few months involves our visits with Tyler and more specifically the frequency of visits.  This is a complex subject but I'd like to offer some thoughts on it tonight.

When we moved Tyler into his new home nearly 5 months ago, we had some thoughts about how we would approach visiting him but we didn't have much to go on.  We did know that we wanted to do what was best for HIM and the staff.  Of course it would be difficult not to see him regularly, but the hope is that he will live in his new home for many years to come, and that relationship now has to come first.  

Our first thought was that Tyler could not properly become used to his staff being his full caregivers if he saw us too early or too often.  Unfortunately because we could not explain to Tyler what was happening, he was basically thrown into it blindly.  This was a terrible feeling, especially at first.  But we had to deal with the situation for what it was. Tyler and the staff would need to learn each other as they went along.  Perhaps this was the best way because the relationship needed to be based on what they will come to know about each other and not what WE know as his parents.

So we decided to sit back and allow nature to take its course without any direct contact.  Oh we knew what was happening every day, and we got reports constantly even if we didn't see him.  We knew that the minute he saw us he would think he would be going back to his old home and this could confuse him and possibly set him back.  We couldn't risk that, this was just too important and too hard not to get right the first time.  He needed to rely on THEM every day and his routine every day like he relied on us, and to interfere with him before that happened would be selfish and wrong.  We got our updates, and we waited.

After the holidays we decided to see him for the first time.  It had been about 10 weeks since the move and the reports were that he was really taking ownership of his home and his routine.  We decided to see him at a "neutral site" location so that it would be less confusing for him.  It worked and it was a very nice visit.  He did seem a bit agitated after leaving us, but quickly recovered.

The second visit was at his birthday party and we included more family.  Unfortunately this did seem to be overwhelming for him, but it was good for the family to see him looking healthy and well-adjusted.  

Our third planned visit for last weekend had to be postponed because he had a bit of a cold. We are going to plan our next neutral site visit again soon.

Overall, this is a question that there is no right or wrong answer to.  But I think the key is that we have to evaluate what is best for him and his staff, and not for us.  In our situation it is better for Tyler if he largely lets us go.  That is a sad statement to make but its a harsh reality.  He does not have a great amount of capacity to change the way he sees people. He can't suddenly look at us as happy visitors, we will remain his parents that belong with him in a certain setting.  We have to swallow our emotions and understand that this is just who Tyler is, and we must help him in that way.

We certainly miss him and talk about him every single day.  And we will continue to see him and look to make the visits more frequent as we go.  But we will also gauge it to what HE is comfortable with.  Right now his life is about his new home, his routine, and his staff and as long as he knows that we are here for him and that we love him with every ounce of our hearts, we will accept whatever role he needs us to play.

Be well and good luck.  Tom

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