Advancement for LD Scouts
alan houser (houser@CEDR.LBL.GOV)
Fri, 10 Jun 1994 10:14:05 -0700
I have been following the thread on learning disabled and attention
deficit disorder Scouts with some interest, as I have at least two
ADD Scouts in my Troop now, and have had Scouts with other learning
disabilities in the past.
Let me start by saying I have no professional training in education of
any sort, aside from SM Fundamentals, Wood Badge, etc. So please do
not take what I am about to say as anything but my personal experience.
I would caution everyone about using labels to create expectations.
One of my ADD/LD Scouts is a Life Scout, aged 15, and I expect him to
earn his Eagle rank before he is 18. He is definitely a problem
sometimes at meetings when his medication is wearing off, but he is also
one of my best teachers of Scout skills to the younger Scouts.
Another of my ADD Scouts was in the Troop for a year before I learned of
his problem. When he joined, I was told by his den leader that he
(the Scout) was unsure about Scouting, but he would give it a try.
He was very quiet, but seemed to be having a good time, and made modest
progress in advancement (after 1 year, he is very close to First Class,
with a couple of merit badges on his sash). Now that I know of his
ADD, I will be cautious about urging him to work on too much because I
don't want him to push him too fast, not because I don't think he can
Another Scout I had briefly had more severe physical and learning
disabilities, but I was talking with his mother about him during a
campout. She mentioned that she was anxious about how he would do in
Scouting because, for example, he had a difficult time learning to tie
his shoes. I replied, "That's very interesting! Because I just tested
him on tying his scout knots, and he did them all and he did them well!"
He left the Troop because of other time commitments, not because he
didn't enjoy the Scouting.
My advice is this: we teach Scouting in a very different way than
schools teach other skills. Certainly, there are situations where you
have to take extra care in dealing with a boy with any kind of
disability, but don't shortchange him by starting out with an idea of
what he can't do. Make the program fit the boy, not the other way
Alan R. Houser
Scoutmaster, Berkeley Troop 24
Terry Howerton Sakima Group, Inc. SCOUTER Magazine Kansas City