Anna went to her very first middle school dance a couple of weeks ago. The dance was sponsored and thrown by the high school and was for the STAR (Specialized Training in Athletics and Recreation… similar to the Special Olympics) middle school students. Anna participated in the STAR bowling program this past fall and won a gold medal (getting those photos and videos posted is on my to-do list!!!). When I first asked her if she wanted to go to the dance, I thought for sure she would say no. Imagine my surprise when Anna said yes, she wanted to go and she wanted to have a boyfriend. Wow. She really is growing up!
Huge props to my mom… Nana on the spot!… for picking up Anna at school to take her dress shopping. Anna had so much fun picking out a new dress, choosing a necklace, and even got new shoes too (though those didn’t last long, she changed into her tennies in the parking lot, lol!). She looked and felt beautiful.
All Dressed Up (iPhone 6+)
When we first arrived at the Canyon High School, Anna was soooo nervous to walk in. It was our first time on campus so we weren’t sure where to go. The parking lot was full, but we lucked into finding a good spot, then got some guidance on where to go. Everyone was super nice. I had to really encourage her to cross the threshold. The dance was held in the cafeteria, it was well lit, not too loud, and the space was large enough that it didn’t feel crowded. Anna’s anxiety was so high though.
Checking it Out
We spotted Mrs. Haynes (her teacher) and Mrs. Schacht (the other SN teacher), then a bunch of friends. That made her happy! I could feel her relax a little and I could step back.
Seeing Familiar Faces
I totally missed getting a picture with her teacher, Mrs. Haynes. But I did get one with Mrs. Schacht, the teacher who leads the other self-contained SN class, and she is just as sweet and kind as Anna’s teacher. She helped point out some of Anna’s friends that were there.
Anna hugs her friend, Taylor. 🙂
Anna was super excited to see Courtney and insisted on a photo together. 🙂
I had to really talk Anna into going onto the dance floor at all. She heard this song and I made a goofy fool of myself trying to follow along. Finally, she started dancing a bit on the edge of the dance floor. I got a bit of video. Isn’t she soooo cute???
One of Anna’s classmates, Charlie, wanted to dance with her. See Charlie’s mom, Nancy, on the far right? She was just as proud and excited and nervous as I was. Charlie is a very sweet boy.
I got some video of them dancing together. Soooo precious!!!!!!!!!
Charlie wandered off near the end of the song. Nancy took his hand and led him back to Anna. It’s nice to be around other kids and parents who deal with similar challenges and social struggles. Charlie is a doll and Anna has declared that she wants him to be her boyfriend!
Reassurance from Mom
We took a little break and chatted for a few minutes, but Anna really wanted to dance with a boy again. I slowly backed off to see how she would navigate being with the kids. Most of them were handling things solo, so I wanted to give her a chance to do that too. There was a lot of support from the high school kids. After a few minutes, Anna was looking sad standing there by herself, hoping for a boy to ask her to dance. It doesn’t matter if you are neurotypical or face challenges, you want to be noticed and liked. A group of high school girls asked her what was wrong and when she said she wanted to dance with a boy, they scurried off and came back with a boy for her.
Wishing for a Partner
I’m pretty sure this boy is a freshman, but I’m not sure. I didn’t get to formally meet him, but young Mr. Schley looked very nice in his uniform and he was happy to dance with Anna.
New Boy, Schley
They danced to Chicken Dance, always a hit!
Here’s some video of them dancing. I love love love Anna’s booty in this clip. Shake it, baby!!!
Anna’s partner was so unabashedly joyful in his dancing. It made my heart happy.
After this second dance, Anna’s anxiety started ramping up again. We wandered over to the snack area, got a cookie, and went to a quiet corner to sit for a few minutes. She was done though. After we finished our snack, we went home. She managed about 30-45 minutes very, very well. I was so proud of her.
Mommy and Anna (iPhone 6+)
Thanks for looking!