Rockford teacher Ian Throop and his students do something special for prom. Throop works with students with cognitive impairments. They include students who have autistic spectrum disorder (ASD), mild to moderate cognitive impairments, and learning disabilities. The students in his room have academic and social needs.
“Our goal is to teach them functional academic skills, social skills, job skills, as well as expand their interests and hobbies,” said Throop. “We also try to give our students as many opportunities to participate in the same activities that everyone else might get—obviously, only if the student wants to. Our prom trip is one of those opportunities that we felt the students could really have some good learning experiences while participating in the same things that all the others got to do.”
In preparation for prom, staff taught the students about manners, dinner table conversation, and formal dinner etiquette. They practiced some of the fun songs that are typical dance songs like the “Cha Cha Slide” and the “Cupid Shuffle.” Staff also worked with the parents to coordinate a drop-off and pick-up time to Rockford High School, because the students likely would not have been able to go otherwise, as these students don’t drive.
“We then worked with The Party Gator, a limo company based in Greenville, and they donated their services at a much reduced rate to allow our students to arrive in style to prom, and with Dunhill Tuxedo on Northland Drive, who donated prom attire for the staff to wear to prom.”
Needless to say, the students had a blast.