MHS sophomore Clare McGuire in the breezeway at the high school. (Emma Allen)
MHS sophomore Clare McGuire in the breezeway at the high school.

Emma Allen

Knowing No Limits

April 28, 2020

What a blessing it is to be able to walk, talk, read, and experience the wonders of life. Some children develop these privileges during their childhood, but, for some, they might be difficult, maybe even impossible, to obtain. 

Clare McGuire is a sophomore at Martinsville high school; she is an average teenager, but with some exceptions. She was not able to walk or crawl around her house. She was not able to learn to talk to people or read as early as most kids. Clare was born with Rett Syndrome – a genetic disorder that leads to impairments affecting most aspects of life. Only affecting 1 in every 10,000 females, the disabilities can range depending on the person. On a scale of mild to severe, Clare is moderate, but that does not soften the strength she has gained from her disabilities. 

Though having any kind of disability is never easy, Clare handles hers like a champ. She has had to have a few surgeries, one that put rods and screws in her back in an effort to correct the ‘s’ shape. After her surgery, her back was straight and she even grew four inches! 

One of Clare’s favorite things to do is write. Her writing system is a lot different than your standard pencil and paper. Clare uses a very advanced computer system, Eye Gaze, that tracks her eyes because she cannot use her hands; the system determines what preprogrammed word/phrase she is focusing on, then reads it aloud. This technology helps her communicate on a daily basis, and she even uses it at the summer camp she goes to. At Gadget Camp, she stays for a week and spends time with other kids with disabilities, allowing her to learn new ways to communicate.

Don’t let her impairments fool you; Clare is just like every other 17-year-old girl. She loves the color pink and wears it almost every day. She loves mashed potatoes and gravy and smiles from ear to ear from just the thought of it. She loves wearing jewelry (especially bracelets). She loves coming to school, learning, and participating in extracurricular activities such as cheerleading; occasionally, she joins the MHS cheerleaders on the basketball court and football field! She loves watching The Voice, Masked Singer, Dancing with the Stars, and is the biggest Harry Potter fan of all. More than anything, Clare loves painting and riding horses. 

Riding horses is Clare’s form of therapy. Riding at Horseshoes of Hope, she is able to reap the rewards of therapy without having to be in a clinical setting. According to their website, the activities “improve self-control, increase risk-taking capacity, encourage teamwork, and bolster confidence and self-esteem.” 

Christy Woods is Clare’s aid during school and at Gadget Camp. “I always say, girls with Rett are just like you and me, but they are trapped within. We can never truly know how smart they are because they can’t get it out. They absorb it all in. They hear it all and see it all, but they can’t let it out,” she said.

Clare is a special girl. She is special in the way she smiles when she hears her favorite things. She is special in how genuine she is. She is special in how hard she works for things that come naturally to the majority of her peers. She is more special than we can comprehend.

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