Friday, February 10, 2017

Team Tyler Hall of Fame - Gina

There are people that have come into Tyler's life, and all of our lives, who have made very special contributions.  In a previous "induction" I selected my in-laws, Pam and Andy for their unconditional love and support.  There are other family members who will be highlighted but I want to shift gears just slightly.

My next selection for the Team Tyler Hall of Fame is Gina K.  Gina owns the hair salon where all of us have gone for about 10 years.  On the surface this might seem like an odd choice, but if you saw Tyler with her it would all make sense.

Ten years ago we were looking for a new place for the family to get our hair cut.  Gina was recommended to me by a dear friend.  This friend felt that Tyler and I would especially like Gina because she is fun and outspoken and a little bit crazy.  So we gave it a shot.  For the longest time I would stand beside Tyler while he was getting his cut, giving her verbal instructions, and him verbal reassurances.  I'd stay close by and watch his body language in case he got aggressive.  In those early days he would give out some moderate kicks and swats to let everyone know that a haircut can be anxiety inducing to him.  

As time continued on, it was clear to me that Gina had that "it" quality that all special needs parents dream of.  That "it" person is the one who rises above the aggressive behavior and has that ability to gain their trust.  To my knowledge Gina has no formal training or extensive experience with special needs.  She simply leads with her heart, and her guts, and she trusts her instincts.  Its a natural ability that is a wonderful thing.  

For a long time now, Tyler becomes excited when he knows he is getting his haircut.  He marches straight into the door and straight to Gina's chair.  He even turns to his staffer and waives goodbye to them so they will go sit across the room.  He is saying "this is MY time with Gina".  Gina always tries to make him talk, laugh, and act a little goofy, which are all things that endear him to people.  His staffer has him pay for his haircut, he gives Gina her customary bear hug, and away they go until next time.  He sees Gina as a beloved friend.

Gina makes Tyler light up, and she has taught him to enjoy a personal care process.  She has helped teach him a little about trusting other people to handle him.  She took the time and the attention to win his heart.  That makes her so very special to all of us.

Be well and God bless.    Tom  

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