“I felt so beautiful that night. I loved the red carpet so much I went down three times. Everyone wanted my autograph and to take pictures with me.”

“It was the best!”

This from Julia, one of 425 honored guests from 70 schools at a special-needs prom in a California county. She has Williams syndrome, which causes cardiovascular disease, developmental delays and learning disabilities.

“At this event, everybody who goes to the prom feels like they are in the in-crowd,” says the mother of a young man with Down Syndrome. “Every child is treated as if they are the most important person.”

Prom-goers get the full treatment

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From hairdos and makeup to flowers, jewelry, dresses, tuxedos, pictures and limo rides, everything is free, paid for by donors. “It feels like you are watching a fairy godmother experience. It’s something you never thought would happen in your child’s life,” says another parent.

It’s not just the students with special needs who benefit from the prom.

2005-8 Amy w Brian at Andy's Wedding

“It is the greatest feeling and most incredible experience I have ever had,” says a high school senior who was paired with a student with special needs. “It’s like any other high school dance– if you minus the awkwardness and multiply the happiness.”

“We don’t have a special-needs child in our family at all,” says one of the volunteers. “We were just so inspired by how wonderful it is. It is a lot of hard work and fund-raising, but every moment makes the effort worth it.”

We all love to dance. It brings out something in us.

“No matter how severe someone’s disability is, the music just speaks to them,” says Marci Boucher, executive director of the Society for Disabilities.

[Excerpts are from this USA Today article.]


This prom has lots of dancing and no judgment. Click to Tweet