Mattress Mack hosts prom for those with autism at Gallery Furniture

By Jonathan Martinez - Anchor/Reporter

HOUSTON - With a decked-out dance floor and the upbeat music to match, this prom may look like any other.

But there's much more that makes it unique.

"People with mental illness, whether it's OCD or on the spectrum or whatever, they're human beings just like all of us and we want to treat everybody the same and treat them like great people. And that's what we're having tonight -- a party for a bunch of great people," said Jim "Mattress Mack" McIngvale, owner of Gallery Furniture.

The prom being held at Gallery Furniture was put together by Mattress Mack and Success on the Spectrum.

And it's designed for anyone with autism and their family to come out and enjoy the evening.

"You are going to have some dim lights, as you see, and low music -- even a calming area for kids that get overwhelmed easily. We're even going to have some games to get them engaged," said Daisy Rios, director of administration for Success on the Spectrum.

Organizers said the event was put together to give everyone an opportunity to be in an environment with others just like them who want to share in the same fun experience.

"I think it's awesome. I'm looking for more places to take my kids like this," said Rosenda Garcia, who has two children on the spectrum.

Families like the Garcias say they certainly appreciate these types of events.

"It's really hard taking them out anywhere and I'm feeling like taking them to a place where there's a lot of autistic kids and parents are going to understand why they're acting that way," Garcia said.

They'll be one of likely hundreds of families who make it out for tonight's prom who are all about having a good time.

"If they want me to dance, I'll come dance. That would be brutal," McIngvale said.

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