Hi. I’m Ashleigh McPherson. You may know me from In Step as the woman at the window. I am the fortunate one who gets to greet all of the parents and children as they check in for their groups. From my unique vantage point, I am able to see kids and teens coming and going each week and to watch as their therapy progresses.
For some of the kids at In Step, greeting a stranger at the window is no simple task. So it was pretty cool when Rebecca*, who previous sat off in the corner of the waiting room disengaged from everyone, came up to the window with a couple of her friends from group to tell me a joke! And Sam* who interrupted loudly when his fellow group members tried to play a game, is calmer now and more able to go with the flow of the game. I think I have been most surprised by Brian’s* dramatic change. When he first came in for group, his facial expression and body language told me how painful it was for him to be with groups of children. He tried to engage with the other boys and looked like he wanted so desperately to join them, but he just couldn’t. He had a pronounced stutter. It was painful to watch him battling with himself to communicate. Over the months, I’ve witnessed him grow calmer. He checks in at the front desk with me now and looks me right in the eye. His stutter has subsided and he speaks to his friends in the waiting room with more confidence. It warms my heart.
Being at the front desk and seeing how what we do at In Step impacts the lives of these children and their families, makes my job so gratifying. It’s a privilege to see how the work we do changes these kids’ experience of the world for the better.
* We have changed the kids’ names to protect their, and their family’s” privacy.