Tyler Ranch
Successor to "Bridge to Understandingtm"
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We are sad to report the recent death of founder Jon Tyler, which leads us to question the future of the program.  Whether or not this means that Tyler Boys' Ranch will change direction or close, we do not know.  If you approach them  before we further update this entry, please verify their immediate plans.

Tyler Ranch has closed.

Tyler Ranch (also known as Tyler Boys' Ranch) is one of the few real bargains among special purpose schools and treatment programs.  We include it in the inaugural group of listings because of the incredible value it offers. It offers an unusual home-like environment and a contender for the most normalized environment for boys ages 6 to 18 in a residential treatment environment. The capacity at Tyler is only about 18. Its cost is about 40-50% of typical costs for a therapeutic school.

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FamilyLightsm is an educational consulting firm specializing in work with families with a young person with behavioral, emotional or psychological difficulties.  We offer in-depth personal guidance to families on a fee basis and free guidance on the internet. FamilyLightsm attempts to be fully objective and accepts no advertising nor referral fees.

Part of the reason for the low cost is that residents attend public school.  It is also important note that the ranch offers intense educational support, that includes potential to send their own staff into the local public school to support the teachers and their students.

Like a home with many siblings, there is a wide age range of boys interacting with each other (although housemate and roommate ages are reasonably close together).  This gives the older boys and opportunity to be role models for the younger ones and the younger ones have an opportunity to learn from the older ones.  This also means that older boys with the most extreme behaviors are not suitable for Tyler Ranch. 

The name of Tyler Ranch can be misleading.  When I hear the word "ranch" I think of wide open spaces and grazing cattle.  You won't find that at Tyler.  You will find three small suburban style houses on a quiet residential street within the city limits of Spokane, Washington.  If you go inside those houses you will not immediately see the difference between them and a typical modest be very well kept individual family home.  But if you look closely you will find sleeping space in each for about a half dozen boys as well as a staff family.  The boys live as if part of the family of the staff person there.  Jon Tyler, founder and director hosts one group of boys in his home while carrying the responsibility of managing and directing the program. 

While we are not sure how the word "Ranch" came into play here, we do know there is not any intended deception.  An accurate description of the actual set-up appears prominently in the facility's own website.

One of the most impressive things about Tyler Ranch is the relaxed atmosphere.  The entire group goes to vacation at a nearby lake in the summer with jet and other recreational equipment available.  When our consultant visited a number of years ago, the entire group took a bicycle trip to a nearby park. The boys were climbing over large rocks and scaling cliffs, with Jon Tyler's watchful eyes at a distance, but a sense of freedom similar to what some of us in the grandparent generation recall as children back in the 1950s having the freedom of a "capture the flag" game that ran through our entire neighborhood. These boys have no sense of being confined. 

The actual program on paper is pretty standard: points, levels, privileges, etc.  What is special is the human quality and the relationships.  The range of boys they can accommodate is very specific:  softer, more manageable boys who need extra therapeutic support and guidance.  For those who do, it is a quality offering that has the benefits of programs charging as much as three times Tyler's fees, and leave their boys feeling cared about and in a family atmosphere. 

This is a best kept secret of therapeutic facilities. We are trying to give the secret away.   

Official web site of Tyler Ranch

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Lon Woodbury's 1991 Visit to Tyler Ranch






Feedback is invited. We will publish any feedback in good taste from Tyler Ranch and will publish selected feedback from other sources. Email FamilyLightResponse@yahoo.com

Disclaimer: No  program review, no matter how positive, is a blanket endorsement. No criticism is a blanket condemnation.  When we express our level of confidence in a school or program, that is our subjective opinion with which others might reasonably disagree.  When we assert something as fact, we have done our best to be accurate, but we cannot guarantee that all of our information is accurate and up to date. When we address compliance with our guidelines, you need to remember that these are only OUR guidelines -- not guidelines from an official source.  We have also set the bar very high, and do not expect any school or program to be in total compliance.  It is not appropriate to draw a conclusion of impropriety (or even failure to live up to conventional wisdom) from our lack of confidence in a school or program or from less than perfect conformity to our guidelines.  Some will say we expect too much. Readers are responsible for verifying accuracy of information supplied here prior to acting upon it. We are not responsible for inaccuracies.

Last updated 4-26-2010

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