Notification of Medical Conditions
Jay Thal (jay.thal@TCS.WAP.ORG)
Thu, 7 Aug 1997 21:08:04 EST
Ron Raab-LongUs query, on parents withholding information, the other
day generated considerable response. It seems that we are all confronted with
boys with AD(H)D, or whatever, and the reluctance of either parents to share
information with leaders, or the sharing of that information amongst leaders
when need-to-know seemingly conflicts with confidentiality.
Having recently come back from a trip in which we had three composite
patrols (even though from the same Troop), I can attest to the fact that lack
of knowledge, coupled with the new personal/personnel interactions created a
multitude of problems. I, and two other leaders, had the youngest and most
inexperienced group, and we had less history to go on. Winging it challenges
the best in us.
First of all, there are clearly unacceptable behavior patterns which
cannot be tolerated. Punching an ASM, or throwing a rock at another Scout are
but two of them. Several years ago we sent a Scout back from Alaska to
Washington, DC in the middle of an adventure for throwing that rock. That was
a very expensive lesson, as you might guess, yet the Scout continued with the
Troop the following season.
Penalties must be proportional, fair, and swift. Scouts, parents, and
leaders must know them ahead of time. Obviously we need to avoid the
complexity of a Scouting equivalent of a Napoleonic Code. Sometimes the
isolation of being sent to a tent alone for an hour has remarkable corrective
But, this is the penalty phase and gets away from RonUs questions. As
John Conley pointed out: *these kids need Scouting more than more *normal*
It seems to me, that the boy who was told by his parents to leave his
medications home was being victimized by them. And that should call for a
meeting not only between leaders and parents, but with an attending
professional (if you can find one to volunteer some time).
If we are to be successful in this game with a purpose, then we must
emphasize to parents that we leaders need full disclosure of information.
Supposedly, the parents want their son to succeed in Scouting and in life --
and that should be the hook. If we leaders know information early we can
tailor (yes, I said tailor) a ScoutUs advancement program around his abilities
by acknowledging his disabilities. [ see: A ScoutmasterUs Guide to Working
with Scouts with Disabilities - Pub. No. 33056, 1995]
That need for full disclosure starts from your first exposure/
recruitment effort and needs to be reiterated redundantly. Obviously, the
parents (and the boy) need assurances of reasoned confidentiality for their
disclosures but, I would suggest, that it be orally presented at Troopwide
parentsU meetings, and be an annual issuance/mailing to the homes. Redundancy
reinforces, and it reminds when change occurs to an otherwise normal(?) Scout
which can cause behavioral changes or acting-out (a new diagnosis; family
disolution; etc.). That disclosure will let us guide success.
I did a day-trip to the Jambo. And one of my disappointments was that
I didnUt see BSA placing any information forth on Scouting for the
Disabled/Scouting Unlimited, maybe I missed it but I deliberately asked. It is
under our tent, as much so as the Urban Emphasis (more about that from another
soapbox), which had the smallest of tables.
I am an Eagle (and so is my son Adam)
I used to be a Buffalo
ASM, Troop 666, Benjamin Banneker Dist., NCAC
Terry Howerton Sakima Group, Inc. SCOUTER Magazine Kansas City