From “Coping” to Thriving

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Like most teenagers, Tyler doesn’t like cleaning his room. But his shy smile appears when he talks about extracting DNA from strawberries in his eighth-grade science lab. “It looks like string,” he explains.

If you want to see him really light up, just ask him about soccer. He plays goalkeeper and is quite good at it, earning the respect of his coach and fellow players.

Anyone meeting Tyler today would never suspect the challenges he has overcome in the past few years. As a young boy, Tyler was bullied. His reaction was to lash out in school – kicking chairs, being aggressive toward other children, and causing disruptions in the classroom. That’s when his grandmother and caregiver, Wanda, reached out to The Village.

“Tyler needed someone to talk to about his experiences being bullied,” said Wanda. “He needed help overcoming that trauma and help believing again that he’s a good kid.”

Through The Village’s Extended Day Treatment program, our intensive after school program for kids ages 5-14, Tyler improved his social and coping skills and learned to express his feelings in healthy, productive ways.

When Tyler left the program, his behavior and confidence were greatly improved. But Tyler still needed help to continue his progress, so he started regular outpatient therapy sessions with The Village’s Enhanced Care Clinic.

With his clinician, Allisia, Tyler continued to work on opening up and engaging more with his grandmother, teachers, and peers.

“Tyler has gone well past ‘coping,’ and now goes out of his way to connect with his friends,” said Allisia. “His teachers have seen improved engagement in his classes.”

Tyler has improved so much that his school determined that he no longer needed extra support services. When Tyler’s grades slipped a little after those services ended, he advocated for himself to receive additional support – something he would never have done before.

“Tyler is so brilliant,” said Wanda. “Now he is able to advocate for what he needs, make friends and open up to me about challenges he’s facing so we can work on solutions together.”

Tyler is proud of himself, too. He is setting his sights on college and a future in soccer or the military. It’s easy to see that he may accomplish all of his goals.

He still encounters challenges and might be a little nervous about starting high school in the fall – his most recent challenge?  “Surviving school finals!”