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(CBS) — It was a special day for a group of students with special needs. They did something they’d never done before and it meant a lot to them.

CBS 2’s Harry Porterfield reports.

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For the kids at Giant Steps Elementary in Lisle, a school for autistic students, this is a really big deal. It’s their own production of a show “The Little Red Hen.”

Music therapist Amanda Clay came up with the idea. Eighty students practiced to be a part of the show. Kadir Sharees  is excited to have a speaking part in the musical.

“Kadir will learn how to self-regulate, how to manage himself in a social environment,” the student’s mother, Robyn Sharees, says. “He will also leave Giant Steps with the life skills that he needs in order to be a productive citizen in society.”

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The story of the musical: A hen wants to make some bread but the barn yard animals refuse to help.

“They’re getting to practice their reading, they’re getting to practice their articulation. We have students who are using devices to communicate, we have students who are working on some of their gross motor things that they have challenges with,” Clay says of the participation by students.

Violetta Manetas, 10, stars in the show as the little red hen who sings her way through the production at the Wheaton Community Center.

“She’s been all-consumed with this in a most positive way,” the star’s mother, Katherine Manetas, says. “The school brings out the best in the kids. Sometimes they have potential that we don’t see as parents.”

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