Summer Study as a Whole

Dillen and Dean, 2018 Scholars

Dillen: The DO-IT Summer Study program allows students with disabilities to interact within a community. As someone who is generally outgoing, my concerns were not so much about socializing, but rather about being in a dorm-style environment as I had not done that before. I was excited to meet those with similar disabilities—due to my cerebral palsy, I’ve experienced things such as spinal fusion surgery that cannot be fully understood by my classmates at school.

Dillen works on his computer in the Summer Study 2018 classroom.

At Summer Study, my favorite day was spent at Microsoft, as it relates to computer science, which I want to major in. I found it interesting to hear about ways people can leverage their disability to improve other sectors they have a passion for. I also enjoyed classroom-based activities, which covered both disability-related and non-disability-related topics.

In the evenings at DO-IT, we engaged in fun activities, such as playing board games and socializing. One thing that makes DO‑IT unique is that many staff and interns have disabilities, which promotes an open environment for Scholars to express concerns about disability and non-disability topics. Overall Summer Study was a great experience.

Dean: When I first arrived at DO-IT Summer Study 2018, I was astronomically anxious. It was a new situation, full of people who I’d never met before. Before this, I’d never been this far away from home for more than a day or two. Because of my disability (autism spectrum disorder), I have a hard time adapting to new situations and meeting new people, so that made the icebreaker at the barbecue dinner on the first night a bit of a challenge. I was worried that my time here wouldn’t get any better; that I’d feel this uncomfortable and homesick the entire time. And, as ridiculous as it sounds, I was a little bit afraid that nobody would really like me here. Thankfully, all of these worries were eliminated over the next day or two, and I began to actually enjoy my time here.

We ended up taking part in some fantastic activities. We went on field trips, such as to the KUOW radio station, which, as an avid music enthusiast, I really enjoyed. I got to look at the equipment in the recording rooms and learned some tips on interviewing people. I loved this visit, especially because I got to experience it with my newfound friends.

We also learned important skills for college and beyond during Summer Study. For example, I knew almost nothing about the difference between getting accommodations in high school versus getting accommodations in college. We even got to practice informing real professors about our disabilities and accommodations in a real-life situation.

It was also an invaluable time to practice our independence and self-advocacy skills. At DO-IT, you’re expected to act on your own and ask for help if you need it. The environment here at DO-IT is very supportive, and there’s an entire network of friends behind you. Everyone is willing to help you; all you gotta do is ask!