Seniors Shauna Davis and Jessica Madrid lead a special needs dance team, step by step. The team is here to aid special needs, “kids [to] grow and [make] connections with [others,]” all while having, “a blast,” expressed Davis. They are planning on performing at the Hoopcoming pep rally, and maybe even doing a few flash mobs throughout the year at the team members schools.
Gabrielle Schlador, team member, and her mother Jennifer Schlador describe Davis and Madrid as, “awesome,” and are excited to see what the future holds for the team.
The children range from kindergartners to high schoolers who are all very enthusiastic to learn how to dance as well as make new friendships. “Being silly and giving them instructions, breaking it down. Showing them what to do and giving them time to process and then letting them [try it on their own]is very beneficial to the students,” informed Joy Hasler, one of the dance team mentors. However, parents, mentors, and teachers who are apart of the team, all agree that creating new friendships and using social skills is also very important to the children.
“Shauna expressed her passion in being a special needs teacher, and we both love to dance so I thought we should join those interests together,” explained Madrid.
The second you walk into the practice you are greeted with warm smiles and bubbly personalities from everyone. You are overcome with a sense of pure joy and love. The students may seem shy at first, but once they start dancing and having fun, you really see how happy this makes them.
While dancing is a good way for the children to gain social skills, it can help them physically as well. San Diego Family published an article that states children with special needs sometimes have delays in motor skills, and it is important for them to practice these skills to help improve them. These activities also help give the children confidence.
With the dedicated mindset of both Davis and Madrid, this year is bound to be one full of laughter, joy, and some great moves. The girls anticipate to perform at the upcoming pep rally for the Sage Creek hoopcoming game.
The students will be learning various styles of dance, and are currently working on a hip hop piece. Leaders of the team agree that throughout the year they want to use songs that the students see their peers dancing to, so they feel included.
All of the leaders are very compassionate, understanding, and patient with the students, and they all are there to see the children grow and succeed together.
Special Needs claims that children who have developmental conditions or delays often have a difficult time communicating how they feel, or may even be confused by emotions. Dancing can help the children become more comfortable with creative expression and performing in front of peers. This can help them throughout life by bonding with others and becoming more aware, or comfortable, with emotions in an everyday setting.
Davis and Madrid benefit from this just as much as their students. Creating this team provides the girls with leadership opportunities, and for Davis (who is interested in becoming a special needs teacher) is taking steps into a future job opportunity.
“It is really nice knowing that we are giving them something to look forward to every week,” added Madrid. Keep up the good work ladies and gents. We cannot wait to see you break out those moves on the dance floor soon.