Re: ADD Scout and Scout Spirit
Ian N Ford (ianford@DIRCON.CO.UK)
Thu, 31 Oct 1996 22:18:40 +0000
You need to set the boundaries for all kids, but especially those with
ADD. I would suggest thee principle of " natural consequences " , i.e. if
you don't put up your tent you don't have anywhere to sleep - so you
choose to put up your tent or go home. This does not sound like an AD/HD
problem to me, maybe Oppositional Defiant Disorder, but more probably
testing the boundaries.
Are you making too many allowances for his AD/HD and letting him think he
can get off lightly ? My attitude to AD/HD kids is very simple - we have
to conform to society, not expect society to conform to us. Regulars will
know that I use the " we " advisedly. The Scout Oath is about doing one's
best to do one's duty to God, country and others. Ask him if what he is
doing is his best ? OK, it's cold ... everyone is cold. Exercise will
warm you up !
There are issues about the way in which Scouts are asked to do things,
how they are motivated and so on. I have found that if a P/L or adult
works alongside kids they will generally join in. With AD/HD kids it is
the getting started that is the problem. Once started the next problem is
follow-through. It does take a bit of working to keep these kids on task.
It sounds like you need to sort out just what allowances you are prepared
to make, and make sure that he understands that first and foremost he is
a Scout and that means sharing patrol duties. You may have to give him
extra coaching, explain things in more detail and assign tasks in small
chunks, but " goofing off " is not acceptable. Likewise I say that if
AD/HD kids find a situation is becoming too stressful they can take a few
minutes " time out " then come back ... but they <must> come back and
continue the task in hand.
You may need to bear in mind the action span of medication - Ritalin is
very short acting, three hours on average. Tricyclics probably last longer,
but towards the end of the day they may well be wearing off. Likewise,
was the problem with breakfast that he had not yet taken his medication,
or it had not " kicked in " ? Maybe the solution would be to roster him
for lunch instead. Give him the choice ...
Having AD/HD means having to try harder to do things that other people
take in their stride ... it is tough at times. Scout spirit is about
learning to work with and around the challenges that life presents, and a
neuropsychological disability can be quite a challenge. For Leaders,
parents etc. the problem is defining how much allowance to make for a kid's
disability, or rather how little ...
I find there is a tendency either to deny that AD/HD is a problem at all,
and to see it as a " attitude problem " that can be cured by discipline,
or to over-compensate and expect too little in the way of self-control.
Either is not helping the lad to grow. The answer is probably to expect
a great deal, but to be prepared to accept shortcomings and deal with
failures without recrimination.
Some of you may consider this a tough line, but you are not doing AD/HD
kids any favours by letting them get away with stuff that they know is
not their best effort " just because " of their AD/HD. Reality is that
as adults we either learn to adapt to the other 95% of society, or go on
Ian N Ford
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