LANCASTER, NY - For some children who struggle with disabilities, a chance to cheer, tumble and soak up the spotlight can make all the difference.
Watching twin sisters Rhiannon and Sophia Rosso own the floor at last weekend's Cheer and Dance championship in Lancaster, you'd think these six-year old bundles of energy were born to perform.
Thanks to Elite Heat All-Star Cheerleading and its owner Laura Voigt, they have that chance.
"They love performing," says Voigt. "They love being in front of other people and feeling like the star. And that's what we try to offer them and they love it."
Rhiannon and Sophia live with autism and both are part of the Fireflies - Elite Heat's team for kids with special needs.
"They're like one big family to them," says Joe Rosso, Rhiannon and Sophia's Father.
Rosso says his daughters had a hard time interacting with others, but that changed when he took them to the gym looking for a program to give them an outlet for their boundless energy. "And when they see the other girls out there, it really opened them up. They wanted to be like them."
"It is life-changing, it's something for them to be proud of and to think about and to look forward to," says Voigt.
"And as you can see they're not afraid to go out and perform and you couldn't tell they're anti-social whatsoever," says Rosso.
And that comes back to the cheers, not just the ones Rhiannon and Sophia are performing, but the ones they're hearing from the supportive crowds that come to watch.
"There's something about when they take the floor and they're in the center of all that attention that it just makes them feel so special and it turns something on inside of them that isn't always there," says Voigt.
If you'd like to support the Fireflies, their next performance is at the "Cheer for the Cure" event at the Niagara Falls Conference Center February 23rd.