At the end of the school year, Amanda* didn’t know what to do.
Her daughter, Kacey*, a bright 11-year-old with special needs, had an amazing school year. She reached all of the goals on her Individualized Education Plan (IEP) as well as other goals set by her school and social worker. Kacey’s school year success was something to celebrate, but at the same time her academic achievements disqualified her for summer school. Amanda knew three months without structured learning could put Kacey at risk of losing the skills she had gained during the school year. That’s when she started looking for options.
For all kids, summer learning programs are an effective way to lessen summer learning loss – a phenomenon in which kids start a new school year with academic achievement levels lower than those they had at the end of the previous school year. Summer learning loss can take a greater toll on kids with physical, developmental or learning disabilities.
Structured summer learning can help children with disabilities stay on track during summer break. Programs like these can also provide kids with hands-on learning opportunities where they can explore their local community and develop social-emotional skills.
This is the type of program Amanda was looking for, and she found it through United Way of Central Illinois’ partner United Cerebral Palsy of Land of Lincoln (UCPLL). UCPLL runs Learning Without Limits Summer Camp, an eight-week program for children with disabilities, focused on developing math and reading skills as well as creating exploratory learning experiences for campers.
Learning Without Limits was the perfect fit for Kacey. Amanda said that her daughter got better at the skills Amanda was afraid she would lose and even learned new things during the program.
United Way of Central Illinois is proud to fund and support programs like Learning Without Limits, and it’s thanks to the support of our community that we can make this possible. Donors and volunteers help make it possible for all kids to access high-quality education.
Learn more about our progress in the fight for the Basic Needs, Education, Financial Stability and Health of every person in our community. View the 2019 Community Impact Report.
*Names changed to protect the identity of individuals