Prom held for special needs children at Wofford - FOX Carolina 21

Prom held for special needs children at Wofford

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Teens dance the night away at the Joy Prom held at Wofford. (Mar. 1, 2012/FOX Carolina) Teens dance the night away at the Joy Prom held at Wofford. (Mar. 1, 2012/FOX Carolina)

It's an idea sparked by a nationwide movement - a prom for special needs children.

It's known as the Joy Prom. Some of the children attending tonight have anything from behavioral and emotional handicaps to severe disabilities, but tonight was a night to forget about all that, and have some fun. 

Teens with special needs get the red carpet treatment, and a chance to dance the night away.

And for 15-year-old Noah and his parents, they couldn't be happier.

"He really didn't understand what a prom was at first, but we explained it. He's attended dances. We explained that it was a fancy dance, and he got excited," says his mother Nicole.

Noah has cerebral palsy, autism, scoliosis, ADD, and is largely confined to a wheelchair, but he's one of several dozen special needs kids here tonight, and all with a date. Wofford College students organized and participated in tonight's event.

"It started out as a church movement to incorporate special needs population into churches and when that started happening it just caught on fire, it's really gone out of control," says co-organizer and Wofford student Callie Taylor.

And it's all catered to those with special needs.  From wheelchairs, to special rooms for children who might become overwhelmed by the music, this is all set up, and all devoted to special needs children.

This, after all, is their night.  And its also a learning experience for everyone involved.

"I think we've learned that their different, but they're not that different.  We can learn just as much from them as they can from us," says organizer Emily Groce.

Taylor agrees, adding, "this event proves that love is such a universal language and even though they may not understand you and you may not understand them, they know that you love them and they really love you.'

And for the parents, they know it's a night they know their children won't forget.  Noah's mother Nicole says, "I've been tears eyed all night. It seems like just yesterday he was in the NICU fighting for his life and now he's at prom, and it's just awesome."

Response from tonight's event has been so positive that a fraternity here is already planning another Joy Prom for next year.

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