Grow – April 2022

Expanding expression in song

“Then, out of nowhere, he began to sing to the music. He is usually just quiet in class, but he came out of a shell and sang. He did it on the bus, too,” Debbie Rigsby, Direct Support Professional (DSP), said.  Debbie works with New Danville’s Wrangler 2s who need a bit more attention and assistance than the day program Wranglers.  “Patrick and Sebastian both found singing.”

Randy McCaffety, also a DSP who recently began working with the Wrangler 2s, agreed. “It is not every time, but fairly often when we play some rockin’ songs during class, they will dance and sing. This is new for them.”

Finding new forms of expression and joy is a sign of growth.

“We look at all growth steps, large or small, as something to celebrate. Progress can be inconsistent, but progress is progress, and singing for someone who usually doesn’t communicate much verbally is a big deal. Everyone in the class celebrated the new singing voices,” Debbie said.

Randy concurred. “Sometimes you just have to catch it on a good day.  That’s okay. Every positive step is to be applauded.  Everyone in class applauds for those who sing, dance and show they are happy. Mutual support is everywhere.”

Eva Aguirre, president and CEO of New Danville, said, “Early in my career, a speaker at a conference said something I will never forget when it comes to the population we serve. He said, ‘All joy is equal.’ That is what I get out of growth like that of Patrick and Sebastian…joy. The joy they feel for that accomplishment is like the joy others may have for landing a big contract, catching a big fish or finishing a marathon. All joy is equal, and all of us share in the joy of Wrangler accomplishments.”

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