Anna’s First Dance

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+)

New Braunfels special needs girl dance photographer

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

New Braunfels special needs girl dance photographer

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

New Braunfels special needs girl dance photographer

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.

Mrs. Schacht

New Braunfels special needs girl dance photographer

Anna hugs her friend, Taylor.  🙂

Friends

New Braunfels special needs girl dance photographer

Anna was super excited to see Courtney and insisted on a photo together. 🙂

More Friends!

New Braunfels special needs girl dance photographer

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.

First Dance

New Braunfels special needs girl dance photographer

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

New Braunfels special needs girl dance photographer

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

New Braunfels special needs girl dance photographer

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

New Braunfels special needs girl dance photographer

They danced to Chicken Dance, always a hit!

Chicken Dance

New Braunfels special needs girl dance photographer

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.

Very Enthusiastic

New Braunfels special needs girl dance photographer

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+)

New Braunfels special needs girl dance photographer

Thanks for looking!

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  • Lynn - so wonderful– what a great night– way to go Anna!!ReplyCancel

  • Celeste Meader - This was heartwarming! Anna looked great in her beautiful new dress. I loved how the high school girls were observant and sensitive enough to realize Anna was having a moment of feeling left out, and that they took the time to rectify that. It’s one thing being there as a volunteer to assist, but to go that extra step to notice someone was standing on the sidelines not having such a great time at that moment and step in to do something about it was fantastic and took a little more effort and understanding. Kudos to those girls for helping make a special event, but kudos even more to Anna for stepping outside her comfort zone and having a great time dancing with the boys!!! Thank you so much for sharing.ReplyCancel

    • Holly - Thank you, Celeste! I was very impressed with the high school girls and chaperones. It was a wonderful experience!ReplyCancel

  • Heather C - I loooooove this. Anna looks beautiful and I love that she got to get dressed up and dance with some sweet boys. What a fun night for her and for you.ReplyCancel

    • Holly - Thank you so much, Heather! It’s hard to believe how far our kids have come. I’m so glad you are on this journey with me, as my sister-mom.ReplyCancel

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