Linn-Mar students "Dance Away The Stigma"

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MARION, Iowa (KCRG TV9)-- About twice a month Kaleb Cook leads this classroom at Linn-Mar high school.

Students like Emerson Crow are waiting for the warm up to be over.

"Cause I like to do this dance," Crow said.

Kaleb is a teacher, and a student at Linn-Mar. The high school junior is testing a theory that dance therapy can help special education students learn better.

"Helps them flow through their school day," Kaleb Cook said.

Cook came up with the idea for "Dancing Away the Stigma" as part of his Iowa Big project. The program allows students to work on real world projects for class credit This effort combines two of his passion areas: high school dances and supporting people with developmental disabilities. Like his childhood friend.

"I was her peer buddy and her friend. So I was in almost in all of her classes in K through 8," Cook said.

Although the school year is nearly over, he says his work with this project isn't over. Next year he wants to expand what he's learned in this one classroom.

"This is an idea, but next year I would like to lead the national movement towards implementing dance therapy into special education classrooms," Cook said.

To get more schools to see benefits of dance therapy, and along the way make new friends.

"Yeah they're very nice," Crow said.