Special needs prom livens the dance floor

October 15, 2017 12:32 AM

KINDERHOOK - It wasn't easy to tell if it was the flashing strobe lights or the ear-to-ear smiles that were lighting up the dance floor Saturday night at the Kinderhook Elks Lodge.

The 6th Annual Special Needs Prom celebrates adolescence, to some people, also raises a poignant issue.

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"I think I'd like to see more high schools be more inclusive," said Linda Baker, the mother of a special needs child, and chairperson of the prom. "I think about things like kids that are in wheelchairs, and kids with different issues, and kids with different developmental issues that need to be addressed so they could attend the prom with peers."

Mandy Baker, Linda's daughter, was having a blast at the prom because she could dance and sing.

"I can't decide. I love doing both," Mandy said. "I love singing the best."

The Kinderhook Elks were doing what they do best; donating their lodge, volunteering their time, and helping the community.

"This lodge is extremely fortunate to have a lot of great volunteers who put forth to volunteer for such things as this," said Chris Akers, an Elks volunteer. "Here they can let their hair down, they can dance, they can sing, they can do everything."

Brianna Bruno, of Troy, said she was doing a lot of dancing, and "loves every minute of it."

Gage Hillerbrandt, also of Troy, said he keeps "going and going" and never gets tired.

"I think it's amazing," Linda Baker says. "They just want to be themselves and dance and hang around with their friends and have a great time. They should be included with their peers at school and they just want to be loved and accepted."


Dan Levy

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