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Barbara Knighton, Parent

Abstract: The author describes her family’s experience regarding the choice to allow her son to participate in a summer program at TSBVI and offers suggestions for other families.

Keywords: summer program, trepidations, success

We had some hesitation about sending Joshua to TSBVI for a week-long summer program. His first experience with an overnight camp was not pleasant and was hard on all of us. During the discussions with the TVI about sending him, we all agreed that it would be best if he attended his first session as a day student. We stayed in Austin for the week and dropped him off every morning and picked him up every afternoon. He enjoyed spending the day with his peers and Mom and Dad got a couple of hours to themselves. This approach worked well and he had a very positive experience. He was able to become familiar with the staff and the school.

Since the experience was so wonderful, our minds were put at ease to move forward with requesting that he attend the next summer as a residential student. He did attend last summer for a week as a residential student and it was a huge success! After picking him up at the end of the week, we were about two blocks from the school and he told us that he wanted to come back the next day. 

I understand the fears and trepidations about letting your child go overnight for a week for the first time. Here are some things that helped us to make our decision. It helps to get to know the staff by attending parent training and speaking with other parents whose children have attended TSBVI in the past. TAPVI, the Texas Association for Parents of Students with Visual Impairments, is a wonderful organization to ask questions. They have a Facebook group https://www.facebook.com/TAPVIFamilies/. You can also take a tour of the TSBVI campus.

Sometimes a leap of faith is needed. Our kids want to be independent and it is very hard to let them go. I highly recommend a summer session at TSBVI whether it be as a day student or as a residential one. It was one of the best decisions regarding our child's education we ever made!

Photograph of Joshua smiling into the camera with his father standing behind him.

Collage of photographs of Joshua involved in various activities.