Last year, at around this time, I noticed that there were a lot of high schools that were holding special needs proms. This year, this lovely trend is continuing. In addition to proms that are specifically for teenagers and young adults who have special needs, there seems to be more acceptance of high schoolers with special needs attending the official school prom. Here are a few stories about proms from this year.
In Houston, Texas, eighteen year old Amber House did not think she would be going to her prom. Amber has Down Syndrome, and plenty of friends. Her parents were worried that she would not be able to find a date for the prom.
Amber’s mother tried to find a prom date for her daughter, to no avail. Fortunately, Amber’s friend, sixteen year old Matt Gill, asked Amber to come to prom with him. The two met in choir practice. He said: “She’s awesome, she’s a fun person and it’s great to hang out with her”. The two will be attending their school’s prom together.
In Mason County, Kentucky, Taryn Maines did not think she would have a date to the prom. She is a high school senior, and she has Down Syndrome. Last year, she asked Treg Setty, who was a senior last year, to go to prom with her. He said yes, but, this year he is playing basketball at Southern Illinois University. To Taryn’s surprise, Treg was waiting for her when she arrived at the prom. Taryn got elected prom queen.
In Desert Vista, Arizona, there was the fourth annual Life Skills prom. It was held at the Hilton Phoenix Chandler hotel. This special prom lasts four hours, and was attended by 30 formally attired special needs students and more than 50 peer buddies, alumni, and parents.
The school has a program called “Thunder Buddies” where peer students interact on a regular basis with intellectually and developmentally disabled students in group activities. They go on movie nights, zoo outings, and eat lunch together. The Life Skills prom is one of the group activities.
In Savannah, Georgia, there was an event called the 2012 Joy Prom. It is a prom for adults, of all ages, who have developmental disabilities. It was co-sponsored by Xcel Strategies, a young people’s mentoring organization.
There were around 100 participants. Each participant was partnered with an opposite-sex volunteer, so they would have someone to dance with. Flowers, makeup, shoe shining, and photos were offered. The Joy Prom is for a group of people who typically don’t end up going to their high school proms.
Image by NDJ Mom on Flickr