Tyler, who was in sixth grade at the time, changed in many ways, as well. Your dad "disappearing for a year and coming back a little bit different" is bound to leave a mark, Tyler told USA Today. "His army buddies [came] back a little bit different, too."
That "difference" has a name: post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), an anxiety disorder that affects an estimated 7.7 million Americans.
PTSD really took its toll on Tyler's dad — and for him, it came with night terrors.
Hating to see his dad suffer under these circumstances, Tyler stepped in to help.
In September, he and his friends entered a computer programming contest in Washington, D.C.
The challenge? Create a mobile application to help veterans. They knew just what to do.
In a short 36 hours, his team had developed a genius app called myBivyto help veterans like Tyler's dad sleep better.
The smartphone and smartwatch app works like this: It tracks your heart rate and movement while you sleep, learning about your sleep cycle and finding the exact symptoms that trigger a panic attack. It's completely data-driven, so the more it's used, the more it learns and can help you.
"We at myBivy are trying to exploit the science of the sleep cycles in order to prevent these night terrors," Tyler says.
When the symptoms of a night terror begin, the app has the ability to take the person out of the deep sleep they're in while still keeping them asleep. And when the person wakes up in the morning, data from the night before shows how they slept. There's even an option to send the health statistics to their VA doctor or clinician.
This app has the potential to prevent night terrors altogether. Can you imagine?
Tyler and his team won the big prize of the contest, and now they have a successful Kickstarterset up where you can learn about myBivy's next steps, including taking it through clinical trials soon.
We only want the best for our loved ones and our heroes in uniform. Watching them battle PTSD (and all it can bring with it) can leave quite a helpless feeling.
Seeing ideas like myBivy in action gives so much hope for the future of healthcare, technology, and generations to come.
H/T USAToday and Upworthy