Brazil's Carnival breaks barriers for special needs kids

In this Feb.22, 2019 photo, a boy with special needs, center, plays the drum as he prepares for a rehearsal of the Portela children's samba school, in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. For the first time this year, when Portela's children's group parades on Tuesday, special needs children will be dancing and singing alongside the other children. It follows similar decisions in recent years by at least three other major schools. (AP Photo/Silvia Izquierdo)
In this Feb.22, 2019 photo, people with with special needs dance samba during a rehearsal of the Portela children's samba school, in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. For the first time this year, when Portela's children's group parades on Tuesday, special needs children will be dancing and singing alongside the other children. (AP Photo/Silvia Izquierdo)
In this Feb. 22, 2019 photo, Israel dos Santos, 31, dances samba during a rehearsal of the Portela children samba school, in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. For the first time this year, when Portela's children's group parades on Tuesday, special needs children will be dancing and singing alongside the other children. It follows similar decisions in recent years by at least three other major schools. (AP Photo/Silvia Izquierdo)
In this Feb. 22, 2019 photo, a woman with special needs makes a heart sign during a rehearsal of the Portela children's samba school, in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Some 16 samba schools have children's groups that parade during the world-famous bash that kicks off this weekend. However, traditionally those children's schools have had the estimated 800 kids with disabilities parade in groups by themselves. (AP Photo/Silvia Izquierdo)

RIO DE JANEIRO — One of Rio de Janeiro's most famous and traditional samba schools will let special needs children dance and sing alongside other children this year.

The move by Portela on Tuesday follows similar decisions in recent years by at least three other major schools.

Some 16 samba schools in Brazil have children's groups that parade during the world-famous Carnival bash that kicks off this weekend.

However, traditionally those children's groups have had an estimated 800 kids with disabilities parade in groups by themselves.

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