By Dr. Marciene Mattleman

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – June weekends are about what The Washington Post calls “one of the most mythologized American rituals: the high school prom,” a rite of passage that all kids want to experience.

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But Camille, a 16-year-old autistic youngster, who watched her older sister Bella get ready for the big night, tapped on her electronic device, “Why am I not going to prom?”

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That question was enough to energize Bella to ask a friend, also with an autistic sister, to recruit friends and organize a prom.

The group raised enough money for this year, next and beyond and the room with fancy dresses, chicken fingers and ice cream was a huge success as was practicing beforehand social skills like greeting, dancing steps and starting a conversation.

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Very important as well was an opportunity for students in local schools to volunteer and to get to know and be with kids in all phases of autism in a social setting. There’s no question the prom is here to stay.