Sometimes waiting to count your chickens after they hatch isn’t going to help. Because if they aren’t doing well after they hatch, what do you do then?
The good news is that after seven weeks of Nigel living in a supported living home, I am still confident that he is receiving the best professional care possible, that he is well taken care of. The bad news is that he has a housemate, another client, who drives him insane. This guy, who is not on the autism spectrum, is very talkative and constantly tries to engage Nigel. Explaining that “Nigel needs a lot of time to himself” works for about five minutes until the other guy forgets and comes over to talk to Nigel again. The house managers have tried to help by giving the guy incentives and reminders, and they’ve also incorporated coping strategies for Nigel such as having him wear over-the-ear hearing protection as a signal that he does not want to be disturbed. But it has only resulted in engendering animosity, and things are escalating.
It’s gotten to a point where Nigel is constantly on edge, reminded of when he was in middle school and being bullied, even though this time there is no malicious intent. It doesn’t really matter. He feels badgered, even though the other guy, who is angry and feels rejected, can’t help it. The fact that Nigel can’t make the badgering stop throws him right back to the agitated state he experienced in his early teens. And he’s regressing behaviorally and socially. I have seen him overnight at least every other weekend since he moved, and I can see the difference. He’s rapidly losing ground.
Part of me wants to hold off from swooping in and rescuing him. This was something he wanted to do (“I can’t wait to be out from under your rule” was a common refrain last year), and it’s important for him to learn what he can from the experience. We’ve all had to learn to coexist with people who irritate us – coworkers, roommates, even family members – it’s a fact of life, and a social skill. If he were being bullied, I would instantly make changes. But he’s not. He’s uncomfortable, but he’s okay.
And so I’ve come up with what I hope will be a positive (and swift) solution. We’re looking into alternatives where we can move him. I’m certainly not excited about the process of this, having already gone through it for most of the past ten months. Lots of phone calls, emails, and appointments. Lots of driving over 50 miles to pick up Nigel, drive to where the agency offices are (he’s in a rural area), and then either have him spend the night and/or drive him back to his place, another 50+ mile round trip. It wasn’t supposed to be like this.
I’m sure Nigel is thinking the same thing.
When it comes to chickens, I’ve learned to just not count them at all. Not at any point. Life is eternally wait-and-see, demanding patience and detachment, but, fortunately, buoyed by hope.