There's A Special Needs Kids Dance Team And They're Preparing For A Dance Competition!
A team of special needs kids is defying the stereotype and breaking misconceptions. Perceived to have limited physical and cognitive abilities, these children are in fact preparing for a dance competition.
Dance teacher Kim Smith, whose youngest child has autism, is training the team in a studio in Charlotte, North Carolina. They are composed of 10 children, including Smith's 7-year-old daughter Ragan.
"Our front row consists a child with autism, another with two prosthetic legs and another with dwarfism," the teacher proudly told People about the special needs kids dance team. The kids practice their routines every Sunday to prepare them for a traditional dance competition.
Parents of the special needs kids have set up a crowdfunding page on You Caring to help the children with the dance entry fees, costumes and other logistics. "These parents spend so much money on therapy, there really is no extra," Smith told the news outlet.
Mom Lee Adams enrolled her 5-year-old daughter Maelee in Smith's class because her daughter wanted to "do the things the other kids do." Maelee has cerebral palsy and autism but she's enjoying the classes and treats her other dance team members as good friends.
Meanwhile, special needs dance classes are popping up in other states. In Pennsylvania, high school student and ballet teacher Emmah Bowers trains 29 special needs kids in the classic dance, according to Fox 43.
In Texas, the Turn Center and Lone Star Dance Academy offer a free dance class for special needs kids once a week. The program started this month and has so far 10 to 12 students in the class, according to News Channel 10.
In Baltimore, dance teacher Mattie Fenton has special needs kids training under him along with regular kids. They have even participated in dance recitals.
"Our students with special needs, they're up on stage, they're performing next to their peers and the audience is supporting them," Fenton said, according to ABC 2 News. "It's a big thing at this school."