There are plenty of quizzes on the interwebs that illustrate the stress that change can cause. Even the most well-adjusted person can be jarred by enough upheaval. Even happy events cause stress. I changed jobs recently. And while I’m thrilled to be with a company where I have more opportunity and a better culture, I’ve spent the last week coming home exhausted from the stress of learning a new company and a new set of teammates. Since I often deal with stress though sleep (my husband calls me a stress narcoleptic), it’s made for some early bed times.
In the middle of my job change, we’re also dealing with having to throw Tim’s world into a tizzy. The residential treatment facility he’s called home for the past two plus years doesn’t have room for him in their 18 and over group home, and he turns 18 this July. He’s in a good place in his life right now. He’s more stable than he’s ever been. He has a part time job, school, sports, and staff that he’s bonded with. It irritates me that an arbitrary date will make what is a great placement for him unavailable. As good as he’s doing, this change will, very possibly, derail the hard work he’s done to learn to cope with his symptoms.
When Tim was home for a 10-day visit over Spring Break, we sat as a family and discussed what to do when July comes around. We have a few options. We can find another RTC that has a program comparable to the one he’s in now, but accepts residents over 18. Or, Tim could come home to stay, and we could find services for him in our community, and rely on the school district for vocational services. Both are plausible options, but have different implications for our family. I was surprised to hear Tim’s thoughts. He isn’t sure he is ready to come home. He spoke, very rationally, about how far he’s come in the past 6-8 months, and enjoying learning to be independent. So we are looking for both – researching community based services, and touring residential programs. Next week we decide. Either way, even though we will make a decision we are all happy about, it’s going to be a rough summer.
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Julia Roberts is founder of Support for Special Needs and has been a regular contributor since its inception in May 2010. A mom to two kids with special needs, she didn't want other parents to feel what is the often isolating world of raising a child (or two!) with disabilities. Her kids had kidney transplants at the age of eight and will need liver transplants in the future as a result of ARPKD/CHF. They both have vision disorders and learning disabilities.