I have friends that I hangout with all the time
I don't see her as disabled, I just see her as another friend.
We sleep out in the backyard,
we go to a mall,
we go to the movies, go to water country, the beach
like any other friend would do.
Adolescence is a dynamic stage in life,
it is the time to meet new people,
discovered shared interests and dream of the future.
It's a time when families may take a back seat to friends
and school work may take a back seat to just hanging out.
it's a time when friendships can be the most important thing in the world.
For many teenagers with disabilities,
friendships don't happen as easily or as frequently as they do for their peers;
and while this is a complex problem one solution may be closer than we had ever
We must listen to the voices of youth
we must hear their words, respect their wisdom,
and trust their judgment. For they clearly understand the value,
the complexity, and the magic of friendship.
This video is about Jocelyn Curtin and her friends .
Jocelyn lives in Concord, New Hampshire and attends Concord Public High School.
Jocelyn has a loving family, great friends, and a full life.
She also has Rett Syndrome.
I'm Jocelyn's mom, and Jen's mom, and Jake's mom. Jen is older,
and Jake is younger and her dad is John. That's our family.
Jocelyn met her friends
lot the different ways, a lot of them that she met at school.
She met Heather at school, and Heather was the first person that actually
ever called and asked Jocelyn to come over one afternoon on school vacation to
watch a movie and
spend the afternoon with her. She met Kelly
and Melanie through school,
and they would be...they have lunch together at the same period
and the girls had called one time and said: "You know we have lunch with Jocelyn
at school, we really like her, and wanna know if we can come over sometimes."
I met Jocelyn at school, in elementary school.
I saw her a few times, she was in a couple my classes cause we had
mixed grade classes
I hadn't really talked to her then. A couple years later, I met her when I was at
Kelly and we came over to her house.
Jocelyn does give me friendship, she's there for me. When I need a smile, she gives me one;
when I need somebody to talk to, she listens. One time
we were at a school dance and one of our friends was...
sitting on the floor crying, Jocelyn reached out and
put her arm on the girl's back and was rubbing it. Jocelyn sat and cry
with the girl, and it's just show that she does understand how people feel and she is
there for you as a friend.
All the guys come up to her at lunch, and they...
they always tell her things. There's one boy and he's really cute,
he's good looking, and he came up to her and he was whispering something in her ear
at lunch and we're all sitting like: "What is he saying to her?" and she's sitting there and she's like
smiling and she couldn't stop smiling. It was really neat.
And we're like: "Jocelyn got a boyfriend." We were like sorta picking on her and she starts
laughing. It was pretty funny.
While Jocelyn's school days are filled with friends and classes,
teachers and academics, much of what she does with her friend happened outside
You learn a lot more
out in the world than you do in a classroom. I've learned so much
with Jocelyn then i've learned in my 10 years of school.
I think what motivates us is that we feel Jocelyn should have the right
to have fun just like anybody else should, and just because it may take
a little bit more effort doesn't mean we shouldn't give it a try because
it's not fair that we get to experience all these new adventures and let Jocelyn
If I was to give any advice to other parents,
it would be maybe to put yourself in that situation.
I always put myself in Jocelyn's situation because she doesn't
speak and has no way to communicate specifics.
So I was kinda jump in her shoes and say what would I feel like,
and that's how
I guess I try to encourage her to have friends and...
and do things. Will try anything once
nothing is out of bounds.
They've been out to Hampton beach, and when i'm not there,
they can check out the guys and they can
you know do the things that you don't do when your mother's there.
I would be very conservative and walk along... along the shore
and let her enjoy that way. They'd dive right in.
For the first time a few weeks ago, she jumped off the diving board.
while it takes risks and if they don't work,
then she doesn't try it... but you have to first try them out
to see if they work. She has a full life,
she has things to do. You know she can go places with her friends and her friends
are old enough now that they're starting to get their license
and they feel very comfortable going off with her for a day.
People sometimes don't think that I should be friends with her and
ask questions why but it doesn't... doesn't bother me really because I know
that they just don't understand
and people usually afraid of things that they don't know
and so I just kinda brush it off
and usually I just say: "Well I'm friends with her cause and I want to be."
that's just the truth, that's just the way it is and there's nothing you can
anybody else can change
When I see Jocelyn, I just see a friend
just a teenager in a wheelchair, she got a disability.
For a long time it was more one-sided,
I would always make the calls and initiate that the friendships, the
but I think it was a combination of
more kids doing things with Jocelyn feeling comfortable with her
and also that they were getting older but they did things more on their own
and initiated things like that. One of the places where Jocelyn and her friends
spend time is at Jocelyn's house.
It is a home that have seen years of kids being kids,
and teenagers being teenagers. Jocelyn and her friends,
whether they're in the pool, having a sleepover or watching a movie
are no exception. She had all kind of childish things in her room,
and we just thought it would be a good idea that
we would change it. You know so it wouldn't be so childish because
is growing. So we told her mother and she's like: "Sure." you know
we went out and we bought all kind of stuffs
and we did...did her room.
Jocelyn alwayshas the stylish clothes and up today
hairstyles and she always looks good and she always looks just like every other
Jocelyn is beautiful and I always thought that she should be a model.
If Jocelyn didn't have people in her life
like this, it's a scary thought
I think if she didn't have people in her life that care about her like they do
I see what her life would be like.
It would be like all the other people that
had our very caring family so I'm sure
but they get older and families are unable to care for them anymore
and I think they just kinda get lost
Jocelyn is funny and fun to be with, and she's a great person and
that's all that anybody should need to know.