LUFKIN, TX (KTRE) - SFA cheerleader Abby McCarty has been on staffat the Academy of Gymnastics and Dance for six years.
Now she's using her passion for cheerto create a team specifically for children with special needs.
"She said we've always wanted tobut never had anybody to take the initiative to do it and she said take thereins and its all yours," said McCarty.
Eight-year-old Axel Minguez has Autismand his mother Majal says this will be his first time to participate in anextracurricular activity.
"There's really nothing here inour area for our kids, our special needs kids," said Minguez.
McCarty says she's had passion forspecial needs since high school and is studying to become a special educationteacher.
"In high school we worked withSpecial Olympics and that opened my eyes and I just feel in love with it,"said McCarty.
During gymnastics class students willlearn communication, motor, skills and social interaction.
"They'll do jumps and tumbling and stuntsand pyramids and it will all be modified to what they can do," saidMcCarty.
Minguez describes her son as veryactive and hopes gymnastics will be the perfect activity to harness his energy.
"I'm very excited, I really don'tknow how he would do but he loves music and he loves to dance," saidMinguez.
McCarty says a special needs team is long overdue.
"It makes me sad that they'venever had anything in our area like this, so I'm really excited," saidMcCarty.
And she hopes the new cheer and gymnastics classeswill give children like Axel the chance to enjoy the spotlight.
The class will start next week and costs $15dollars a month. For more information contact the Academy of Gymnastics andDance at 936-637-3547.