A public school district in Florida recognizes the challenges that prom can pose to students with disabilities — and for the past nine years, they’ve hosted a prom to cater to those students’ unique needs.
Love it or hate it, prom is a prevailing high school tradition. For students with sensory sensitivities, however, it can be overwhelming.
Loud sounds, crowds, bright lights, and busyness can cause some people to become so overwhelmed that they shut down, meltdown, or need to leave the area.
While there are tools and tips to help someone cope with their sensitivities, providing them a space that’s more sensory-friendly in the first place can go a long way in helping them through it.
This is the ninth year for Miami-Dade County Public Schools’ annual Prom Day, a prom specifically for students with special needs.
The celebration includes hundreds of students — mostly seniors — and their guests or dates. Some teachers, school board members, and chaperones are also in attendance.
There is music and dancing, like any other prom. A King and Queen are crowned.
This year, the event was held at the Double Tree by Hilton Miami Airport and Convention Center.
Ashley Jeanguilles attended prom for the first time ever this year, and was crowned Prom Queen.
The crown suited her.
“I look good,” Jeanguilles said.
“I believe there’s areas, quiet areas for students who need that,” said Mark Karp, Vice Chair of the Miami-Dade County School Board.
“This environment, it seems to be a tremendous success. They do get out on the dance floor, they’re able to listen to the music, if they need some space they’re able to get away from it.”
One young lady wanted to dance with the superintendent, Alberto Carvalho, and he happily obliged.
Carvalho has never missed one of these proms.
“Our kids on the autism spectrum have the same heart, the same mind, the same ambitions and dreams,” he told NBC.
Learn more about this awesome event in this video.
C. Dixon likes to read, sing, eat, drink, write, and other verbs. She enjoys cavorting around the country to visit loved ones and experience new places, but especially likes to be at home with her husband, son, and dog.