Wheelchair Dancers Teach Elementary Students about Disabilities

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MIDDLE SMITHFIELD TOWNSHIP -- It was a mix of entertainment and education Thursday in the Poconos. Members of a group called "Roll Call Wheelchair Dance" showed off their dance skills to students at Resica Elementary School near East Stroudsburg.

Hundreds of elementary students at Resica Elementary watched in awe as the dancers showed off their skills.

The dancers are wheelchair-bound, but it doesn't stop them from getting their groove on.

"Oh, I love it. We are going to dance our hearts out," said Lindsay Tuman, Roll Call Wheelchair Dance.

Every year, the school hosts "Abilities Awareness Week." This was the kickoff assembly, and students got quite a show from members of the Roll Call Wheelchair Dance from New York State.

"We are a nonprofit that specializes in teaching people that are wheelchair users to dance, mostly ballroom dancing and performance-type dancing, with standing partners," explained Diane Discepolo, Roll Call Wheelchair Dance.

And while there was entertainment, there was also learning.

Before the big dance-off, students got the opportunity to talk to participants not only about their disabilities but more importantly, their abilities.

"I feel like it's special and a good honor to see them. It's really good to see them. They are not different than anyone else," said third-grader Nolan Adams.

Lindsay Tuman is one of the dancers. She says this is a great way to teach youngsters about people with disabilities.

"It's huge and it's exactly what I bring home to all of the classrooms is that it's OK to ask questions because if you don't ask questions, nobody knows. I come at it as I am an open book so you can ask me any questions and I will be more than happy to share the knowledge with you," said Tuman.

"We do our best to build awareness so that when they see a person with a disability, they can be relaxed," added Discepolo.

"Abilities Awareness Week" activities at Resica Elementary will continue through June 1.