Our daughter with Rett syndrome was asked to the homecoming dance

Two special needs families share in the joy of a special homecoming proposal

Jackie Babiarz avatar

by Jackie Babiarz |

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When I think about high school, I immediately think about friends, sporting events, getting a driver’s license, and dances. As a parent, I’ve always wanted my children to have fun, safe, and positive experiences like I did. Now that my oldest, Cammy, is a freshman in high school, I want her to have as many typical experiences as possible, despite having Rett syndrome.

When I was in high school in the 1990s, students asked one another to homecoming and the winter and spring dances by picking up the phone and calling. Nowadays, the homecoming proposals and “prom-posals” are elaborate and really out of my comfort zone. Even though I would’ve been embarrassed to be asked with a grand gesture, I wanted Cammy to have the same experience as her peers.

A month ago, another special needs mom, Liz, asked me if her son, Jack, could ask Cammy to homecoming. I instantly began crying because I wasn’t sure if she’d ever be asked to a dance. When I asked Cammy if she wanted to go to homecoming with Jack, the biggest smile took over her face. Next, Jack had to think of a fun way to ask her.

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Two 14-year-olds, one girl and one boy, sit side by side in their respective wheelchairs after a homecoming proposal. The boy holds a pillow in his lap while the girl holds a small bouquet of pink flowers. The boy's father stands behind them holding up a sign that reads, "A big bird told me it would be super cool to go to Hoco 2023 with u" in multicolored letters. The sign is decorated with Big Bird from "Sesame Street" and the Super Mario Bros.

Cammy Babiarz and Jack Pribaz, both 14, are going to their high school’s homecoming dance together. (Photo by Jackie Babiarz)

Jack and Cammy have been friends since preschool. Even though they don’t have the same condition (Jack has a form of epilepsy caused by a mutation in the KCNQ2 gene), our families have bonded over raising one child with special needs and another who’s neurotypical.

The proposal

Jack and his family came over last Sunday so Jack could ask Cammy to homecoming. His dad wheeled him in as his mom held a sign and flowers. Cammy was grinning from ear to ear in anticipation. Jack knows Cammy loves “Sesame Street,” and the theme of the dance is Mario Bros., so he incorporated both on the poster.

Jack used his BIGmack button, an augmentative and alternative communication device, to ask, “Cammy, will you go to homecoming with me?”

Cammy used her eyes to look right at him and gave a big smile to answer yes!

The thrill of being asked to a dance is something Cammy will remember forever. We all will. Cammy is filled with excitement to start preparations, including deciding on a pretty dress, hairstyle, and makeup look.

This already is a fairy tale for Jack and Cammy, and the dance is still to come.

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.


Joi Cotton avatar

Joi Cotton

Love this!

Go, Cammy!

Thank you so much for sharing.


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