The Importance of Having Summer Experience, by Eileen Herzog

By September 20, 2018NVLD Bloggers

Growing up with NVLD can make summer vacation a real concern for many families due to academic and social weaknesses. In many cases, especially if both parents are working, the child can be lonely as without parental encouragement it makes going to summer activities so hard. One of the options that can make summer more enjoyable is to have your child attended a residential summer program for students with Learning Disabilities as these programs promote academic, personal, and social growth.

One of the first advantages of attending a summer program is that the child feels better about expressing the challenges their disability brings. For example, I have always struggled emotionally having a gifted sister who went to Georgetown. At Eagle Hill though, my three closest friend’s siblings went to Dartmouth, Duke, and Harvard so we were able to share many stories about how we label ourselves the “stupid child.” Through this sharing, we eventually saw our true abilities. In addition, many summer programs have a pragmatics requirement so you can make significant gains in self-confidence and self-awareness thus allowing you to become proud of who are you truly are. Having the support of a caring teacher and being with other students with similar issues makes this possible.

Photo courtesy of Eileen Herzog

In addition to growth in their social and personal skills, students will benefit academically when attending a summer program. The student to teacher ratio is small, thus teachers can work closely with students. Also, attending requires a summer commitment so many of the students are dedicated and socially engaged so they become stronger students. In addition, the programs are a tremendous resource for the college process as it is of real value for them to see what college support and transition programs look like and how they work. For me attending Eagle Hill provided me with the extra preparation I needed for this process.

Overall independence is also improved because responsibilities like waking up in the morning and packing your bookbag are done on your own. Yes, assistance is given however the dorm staff can’t give you as much individualized attention so being prepared requires more organization on your part. As you become more independent handling difficult situations becomes easier as you begin to rely on yourself instead of others to help. For example, when experiencing a seizure before going to Eagle Hill,I truly was so anxious in this situation even though my coach was amazing to me. Though after attending Eagle Hill I had the confidence to handle having a seizure on my own.

My advice to others is to trust your parents. If they chose to enroll in one of the programs as the amount of growth that occurs is tremendous. I know from experiencing this personally you will be grateful if you listen to them. Being surrounded by bright and driven Learning Disabled students truly gives you a fantastic summer and the ablity to become a confident and engaged student for the following school year.

Eileen Herzog

Because of Eagle Hill I love experiencing new things!

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