New dance program created for children with special needs

ELMHURST, Ill. (WLS) -- At Beyond Center Stage in Elmhurst, a new program for children with special needs kicked off this month.

The program gives the children a space to dance and be themselves.

"Something that I really like about this program is that the kids come to have fun," said dance instructor Jennifer Dolson

Dolson is behind the new program, which is called Beyond Barriers.

"I'm a special education teacher full time at an elementary school and I also grew up as a competitive dancer and they are my two passions in life," Dolson said. "So this whole program is not meant to be stressful. It's meant to provide structure for the students of course and it's also for them to have a place to unwind."

For parents like Michelle Begora, this is exactly what her daughter Reagan needed.

"I wanted to make sure she had the opportunity to do things other little girls her age are doing and I think it's good for her to participate in groups and learn how to be of a group so social skills are important plus she loves to dance ... so I just thought it would be fun and not as much pressure as a formal dance class," Begora said.
Right now the class has no specific age limit and is tailored to the children in attendance.

"I wanted to make sure that I could accommodate any student that wanted to come here. Whether it was just a learning disability to someone who has a physical disability, I wanted to make sure I could accommodate for all students," Dolson said.

"She had a really good time and it was so neat to see her learning the moves and participating in the class. It just reminds me that she's just a little girl," Begora said.

Currently, the 45-minute class is held on Thursday nights.

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