Forging friendships of all abilities in a ‘Flock’ of Falcons

Inclusive high school activities show that my daughter is where she belongs

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by Jackie Babiarz |

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A group of sloths is called a snuggle. A group of fish is a school. A group of birds is a flock. And a group of humans is a family or club. All of these individual animals are stronger together.

My daughter Cammy’s high school mascot is a falcon, and her school has a club called the Flock. This incredible, inclusive program gives neurotypical students the opportunity to work with classmates with developmental disabilities. Cammy, 14, has only been in high school for three months, but has already made many friends and connections through Flock.

Cammy has Rett syndrome, which affects everything she does, including meeting friends. She’s unable to walk and talk, so she’s never been able to walk up to a peer, introduce herself, and start playing with them. She’s never been on a typical sports team, where bonds are forged. Although she has made a few friends on her own, she relies on others to start the friendship. Flock has given her the chance to make one-on-one friendships inside and outside of the school.

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The right kind of team spirit

Flock had an ice cream social at the beginning of the year. It was wonderful. Many Flock members were also at the recent homecoming dance, making it a fun night for all.

Flock also had a group of superfans at an evening football game. As we entered the football stadium with Cammy, students and staff approached her to say hello. She smiled at all of them, expressing her happiness to be there. We brought her to the Flock section, which had students of all abilities.

Cammy’s eyes were telling us to go away, so we followed her cue that she was fine. We watched from a distance where Cammy couldn’t see us. She was beaming as students took selfies with her, cheered for the team, watched the band, and in general acted like typical high school students at a Friday night football game. After the game, Cammy had the biggest smile on her face.

I think Cammy’s favorite part about these extracurricular activities is that parents aren’t allowed to stick around. It’s a new milestone for my husband, Bill, and I to stay away while Cammy hangs out. Before high school, she’d never been to a birthday party or social event where we could just drop her off. The teachers and nurses of the Flock are all equipped to handle Cammy’s and other students’ needs.

I’m so happy for Cammy to have this club that promotes and fosters friendships, socialization, and school spirit while it embraces differences. She feels like she belongs at this high school. She feels the school spirit and is an important part of the Flock of Falcons.

Note: Rett Syndrome News is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of Rett Syndrome News or its parent company, BioNews, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to Rett syndrome.


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