Re: Scouts with ADD
Ian Ford (ianford@DIRCON.CO.UK)
Mon, 31 Jul 1995 23:17:59 +0100
I am not sure about having a " Special Needs Program " identified as such.
My experience is that most kids can be accomodated within the normal
program with very little extra support.
Our Summer Camp issues each SM with a program listing for each Scout ...
and there would be no difficulty in pulling off the data to print
personal timetables for selected individuals if asked. I personally
always have a pocket memo recorder on camp , and Scouts could tape reports.
I suppose it would be possible for a dysgraphic Scout to use one of the
camp office PCs to type and spell-check a report if we were asked ...
given notice I'd probably arrange to bring another machine to camp for him.
I had two ADD Scouts from my old troop camping with another troop for
which I was Camp Commissioner. One kid said that he was not given enough
free time to finish his Environmental Science project , because every
time he went back to camp he was given a task to do. I had a quiet word
with the leaders, and he was given a bit of slack. He completed five MBs
by the end of the week. ( The two Scouts plus a few others formed the
Dyslexic Donkey patrol , a nice piece of self-mockery. )
One advantage we have is that our junior staff are pretty clued up and
will try to help kids with problems. About a quarter of the staffers have
AD/HD and/or LDs themselves, so that helps create an awareness.
I also ran some supplemental training for Leaders in camp ... as well as
the usual YPG , Safe Swim etc. this year we offered two units on " The
Scoutmaster Conference and Counselling " and " Scouts with Special
Needs " ( The official BSA course outlines are called something slightly
different , but the principles are the same. )
Away from Summer Camp , ordinary troop activities should not be a problem.
I like the idea of the survey , but be aware that parents may want to
hide their kid's problems. This year I was also acting SM to a small
provisional troop of seven Scouts. Four days into camp we discovered one
kid was wetting the bed. I had a quiet chat with him , said it was not
unusual , that we could sort it out. Then I said maybe his doctor could
help. He said that he had been to the doctor , who couldn't do anything.
So why wasn't it on his medical form ? Probably the parent thought that
we wouldn't take him on camp ...
The main thing is to create an atmosphere where kids can feel comfortable
about being themselves. The biggest problem I have encountered is adults
who get uptight when kids deviate from their narrow little framework. I
once told a Committee Member that it was not the ADD kids who fidgetted
during his twenty minute " announcement " that had the problem - HE
needed to learn to communicate better, or put his messages in writing.
I was reading a book by an Australian child psychiatrist who said that
two-thirds of his AD/HD kids benefitted from Scouting / Guiding ... that
in fact the program is almost tailor-made for them in terms of activity ,
variety , social skills training and the support of caring adults.
Makes you think , doesn't it ....
Boy Scout Trainer, Channel District , Transatlantic Council BSA
I used to be a Beaver ... I am an ADDer
Terry Howerton Sakima Group, Inc. SCOUTER Magazine Kansas City