Teens with Down Syndrome Crowned at the Prom

May 26, 2011
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According to a story in USA today, one mother in Loveland, Ohio, Mary Alten “remembers being determined, yet afraid, when she enrolled her daughter in preschool”.  Her daughter, Toni Alten-Crowe was born with Down Syndrome.  Mary Alton was told to put her daughter in a school specifically for people with disabilities.

Instead, she moved to Loveland where there was a school inclusive of people with and without disabilities. “I imagined that she would be snubbed and made fun of and not be given opportunities,” Mary Alten said. “I imagined that every day at school would be a struggle for her.”

However, the complete opposite happened.  Toni became well known and well liked throughout the school.  She is an athlete for Special Olympics, the school morning DJ, and was voted by last year’s senior class as the person with the smile Most Likely to Brighten Your Day. She was also described in a newspaper profile as “Loveland’s Sweetheart…one of those people who is always in a good mood”.

Toni, along with her friend, Drew Anderson, another student with Down Syndrome, were crowned queen at the prom. “It really hit me at prom that night: What I had imagined for her turned out to be the exact opposite,” Mary Alten said. “That she would be so well-known and well-liked and accepted at school — that was a pretty huge thing for us.”  “As proud as I was for my son to get this honor, I was just as proud of the kids that did it,” Suzi Anderson, Drew’s mother, said. “It wasn’t like it was a sympathy vote. They really wanted him to win. That was what was so cool about it.” “This never would have happened when I was in school,” she said.  “I think the stima has changed.”

According to one newspaper, not only was the Loveland, Cincinnati school voting for people with disabilities on their prom court, but also schools in Orlando, Florida,  Albuquerque, New Mexico,  Sioux Falls, South Dakota, Lago Vista, Texas, and Neptune Beach, Florida.

Author: Melissa