In the business of ‘Coming From the Heart' - Beckley, Bluefield & Lewisburg News, Weather, Sports

In the business of ‘Coming From the Heart'

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Since moving to West Virginia, Anna Keene has tried to do the best she can for her son, 37-year-old Ya-Sin Wigfall.

But that has proven to be a difficult task for the woman of a son who was born with disabilities, especially since moving to the Mountain State. 

Wigfall was born in New Jersey and spent more than a decade growing up in Pennsylvania, placed in jobs where he was able to receive a sense of accomplishment.

The pair has now lived in Shinnston, just outside of Clarksburg in Harrison County, for about a year.

Wigfall has autism, but his mother says she is simply happy when her son can feel like he is a part of something, and they are fortunate his autism is not severe.

"Since moving to West Virginia, I have tried to utilize services, (and) was denied a waiver," Keene said. "He can do for himself quite a bit, more than a lot of autistic or PDD (pervasive developmental disorder) young adults."

Wigfall works with a Clarksburg man and his company placing bottle caps on magnets.

The company, Come From the Heart LLC, was started by Ian Rudick in 1994. The company now sends the magnets to locations across the state. His website, cfthadvertising.com, lists the various designs he has approved, including advertising for local companies and a new bottle cap — "Eat Sleep Read Local" — he anticipates will be a huge hit.

"Manufacturing magnets has been a good thing for Ya," his mother said. "He knows it is a job that must be fulfilled — it's meant a lot for him over the past months."

Even doing as little as working two hours a day for one day a week, Keene said, is helpful and important to her.

Services provided to the family are extremely limited, whether it's a job for Wigfall or financial aid for he and his mother.

"The most we get as far as services is with his medical card," Keene said. "It's not working for a lot of people; the system is broken."

Although Keene said she was fortunate enough to meet Rudick, his wife Beth, and others who she says have taken them under their wing in a sense, she still doesn't understand why other people with disabilities aren't able to receive the help they need.

She says although her son can do many things for himself, having a job and something to look forward to doing each day improves both his attitude and skill set.

"He's more social, independent, more comfortable with being around other people," she said of her son's new magnet gig. "This has changed a lot of things for him.

"He's a happy camper and that's all I can hope for as his parent."

Rudick said as far as his business goes, he believes many other private companies are getting it wrong when it comes to employing a person with special needs.

"It's not about what an individual can't do, it's about coming up with unique ways of doing things," he said. "They can, in some way, sustain their family — rather than pay for support."

Potentially, if Wigfall received enough assistance, he could hire someone to help him at work and at home. His mother said that would relieve a lot of stress she has when she has to work a few hours through her part-time job.

"We will continue to try," Keene says with some skepticism.