Blind Beaver Scout (UK) : Leaders need advice on integration
Ian Ford (ianford@DIRCON.CO.UK)
Sun, 13 Nov 1994 18:10:21 GMT
Subject: Blind Beaver Scout (UK) - Leader needs advice !
Date: Sun, 13 Nov 94 13:15:06 GMT
We have been asked to take a totally blind kid into our Beaver Scout colony
He will be six in June, so we have a few months to make plans. However, we
need information / advice / ideas regarding how best to integrate him
For those unfamiliar with Beavers UK there are about 24 boys in lodges
( teams or dens) of about six boys (we are not co-ed yet). Toby goes to a
mainstream school so he will know a lot of the other kids in the Colony.
We have two Leaders , who have been running the Colony for just over a year
and have just started training. My role is to support the leaders in their
training and program planning rather than actually running meetings.
The lodges have a boy Lodge Leader ( usually one of the seven year-olds) a
his job will be to help Toby to integrate into the group. Obviously he will
need a lot of support from the adults !
We met in the Catholic Club attached to the church, which poses certain
problems because apart from a clearly defined dance floor area used for
activities the room is full of furniture , pillars and other obstructions
The first problem will be making sure the environment is as safe as
possible, and reminding the boys not to leave chairs etc. sticking out. The
plus side is that Toby goes to the church and associated school , so he will
have some knowledge of the geography and layout, and should also know most
of the kids. Almost 80% of the boys in the School who are old enough are in
Scouting, mostly in our Group.
I'm assuming that there will be no lack of youngsters offering to help Toby
- the problem will be to get the balance between those things he can do
independently , those things that will need minimal help, and those that
will need actual hand-holding. My guess is that our biggest problem will be
to get the Beavers to understand when Toby will need help and when to let
him get on with it.
The other thing that would be useful is advice on equipment. I've already
worked out that a tape recorder would be useful. We've got some stuff such
as a ball with a bell in, but I'd like other suggestions. I can probably get
about $300 from a charity to cover these, so it's not a major problem
financially. ( The Metropolitan Police provide grants to youth groups etc.
from the proceeds when they auction unclaimed and forfeited property, and
we should have a good chance with this request.)
I've still got to check on where he is with regard to mobility education
and so on - today he was holding his Mum's hand , but I don't know if he he
started using a long cane yet. Also I'm assuming that he probably will not
read Braille - after all, few six year-olds w/o visual impairments can read
print effectively !
The main point for US readers to bear in mind is that we are <not> talking
Tiger Cubs here ... there are no " adult partners " with each kid. Toby will
be part of a group of mainly youngsters for much of the time , so in many
one-on-one situations the sighted helper is more likely to be another Beaver
Scout than an adult. It could be that we could find some of the older Cub
Scouts to help - several of the nine to ten year-olds are very sensible an
could help him with anything that requires, say, reading and writing. In
many ways I'd prefer an older kid than having him too dependent on adults,
because I think he will integrate better that way.
For the first visit I will probably arrange for one of the Lodge Leaders to
meet him in school a week or so before and " give him the low down " on
Beavers. Ideally it would be nice if his Lodge Leader could actually bring
him to the first meeting with his Mum , and stay with him for the evening.
If you have <any> ideas please let me know , particularly if you have
experience of visually handicapped youngsters in Beavers / Tigers.
Ian N Ford
AGSL 25th Greenwich
Terry Howerton Sakima Group, Inc. SCOUTER Magazine Kansas City