Mattress Mack throws prom night at Gallery Furniture for children with autism

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- For the second year in a row, hundreds of kids filled Gallery Furniture's flagship location off the North Freeway, ready to dance the evening away.

Autism Prom, organized by Success on the Spectrum, is a free public event where kids with sensory imbalance have the chance to socialize with other children like them.

"Parents don't lose sleep thinking my kid cannot multiply or divide, parents lose sleep thinking my kid doesn't have friends," said Dusya Vera, a mother to two children with autism.

Tuesday night, her 13-year-old daughter hit the dance floor early, twirling and laughing as dim lighting made way for brilliant glow stick accessories.

"I love this prom, this is the second time that I've brought her to this," said Vera. "Kids with autism, they love music and love dancing, the difference is that their nervous system and five senses are not as balanced as yours and mine. So to have a dance that is smaller in terms of the crowd, where the lights are actually darker, the music is not going to be super loud, and that everybody is aware that everybody else in the room has their five senses a little bit out of balance."

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The party provides a safe and comfortable space where there is no finger pointing or snickering.

"Most kids do understand that they're being left out. They do feel awkward with their peers. They know that they're behind, but they may not know why," said Success of the Spectrum Founder and CEO Nichole Daher.

Daher started this event as a judgement-free zone.
"Everybody has autism, everybody's a little bit weird, nobody judges them for it. We're just here to have a good time, to dance. We don't care how you're dancing, do a flip on the floor."

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Gallery Furniture's Jim McIngvale, better known as Mattress Mack, even made a guest appearance on the dance floor.

"They come out here, they're a little shy, a little reticent, they find out they are with a group of their peers and they have a great time and that's what it's all about," said McIngvale.

"Those are the moments, the light bulb moments, the moments of clarity where these kids come out of their shells and show their real personalities and they're allowed to have fun and run around. That's the most rewarding part of the whole experience," said Daher.

Success on the Spectrum hosts a free public event each quarter for children with autism and their families.

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