Why a special prom?

Tim Teebow’s foundation is doing something many think is quite awesome. His foundation will be sponsoring a prom for children with special needs. The event is being held in 50 different sites throughout the country.  I know I should be giving this huge thanks and appreciation but I don’t get it.

Why do children like Bridget need their own prom?

I get Special Olympics. Athletically children like mine cannot compete. Bridget will probably need adaptive sports. And that’s okay. It is awesome that the Special Olympics were created so that our children can compete with their peers.

I applaud movie theaters and other venues who have events where children with autism (and other needs) can view the show with the lights on, or with other accommodations. I think it is wonderful when malls host a special Santa sitting so those who need that accommodation are able have that annual picture. That Disney makes allowances so that our families can enjoy their park.

I understand that there are a thousand organizations out there that do what they can to make sure our children are included, give what others perceive as “perks” and I contend that my having a problem with a special prom seems hypocritical.

Yet prom shouldn’t have to be adaptive. According to the Greenville Online, the director of the Teebow foundation believes “Everyone should have the opportunity to experience a prom where they feel loved and welcomed and we pray this event will positively impact the lives of thousands of people across the country

I agree with that. Everyone should have the opportunity to attend the prom. If they desire. They should feel welcome and loved.

Everyone.

The purpose of inclusion, of having children “main streamed” was supposed to make all children feel welcome, loved and a part of both the academic and social aspects of school. I know it doesn’t always happen. There is bullying. There are educators that do not understand. There are persons in this world that look at a person with special needs with pity rather than encouragement. That is what this well-meaning event means to me. That my daughter has to have a special prom because she will feel unwelcome at what should be her own prom. At her school with her classmates.

Having a special prom is in direct opposition of inclusion. If Bridget continues to receive her education in an integrated school, I want her to be able to attend that prom. I would not want her to feel unwelcome because she isn’t like everyone else.

Having a special prom means her academic experience didn’t work. For her or her classmates.

6 thoughts on “Why a special prom?

  1. Kerith Stull

    Ya know…. I totally agree. And yet I have some other thoughts, too. My almost 19yo daughter, Brielle, has attended several special needs dances including one deemed a prom. It was coordinated by several peer helpers as part of their senior project (a required service project all seniors in our school district must complete). The good stuff about those dances: music they love (mostly current stuff, but plenty of songs other high schoolers would roll their eyes at, like “The Chicken Dance”), none of the pressure to dress completely over the top upscale (no tuxes, but plenty of nice dresses without the massive frills), none of the peer drama (nobody cares if someone is wearing the same dress or has the same hair style), no stares from anyone (that’s a BIG one), dates can be fathers/uncles/friends/etc, and still other “typical” peers are there dancing with them and making sure they have a great time and everyone is included. My daughter (and her special needs peers) is welcome at the typical prom, although she’s never attended. And I can’t say I’d ever have her go. I would just feel uneasy about it. I don’t have any answers. Just wanted to give you another perspective from a mom with an older daughter.

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  2. Kathryn

    Im only a junior in high school and our prom isn’t until senior year but it will be inclusive and as a member of student council(which plans prom) I will see to that. Our school’s Best Buddies chapter does have their own prom at the local community center. The atmosphere is a lot quieter with no bright lights and less crowded. Plus there are no stares. The kids love it. Of course they are welcome at school dances but I have only seen a few because it is just so loud and crowded, basically very overstimulating, even to myself and I have mild SPD(and hearing loss). But the ones who do attend seem to enjoy themselves. On another note, a few years back I attended a Best Buddies regional chapter dance and that was a mess. It was meant for student with special needs but was not targeted to them at all. The room was very small and partially inaccessible, the music was very loud and the lights were very bright. Several students left early.

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  3. Live by Surprise (@LiveBySurprise)

    I agree with you, but I also agree with the commenters. I think it’s good they can have fun with their friends who might not go to the same school, and with whom they might have more in common with. And it’s also great if the kids they go with are accepting – I think they all benefit.

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