scouts-l Mail Archive for March of 2000: Working With Scouts With disAbilities (was:Questions of Age and Rank)
Wed Mar 01 2000 - 08:37:28 CST
Since I receive Scouts-L in Digest mode I have the
disAdvantage/advantage of often seeing responses as well as the original
Neil Lumpton's responses were helpful, but I'd like to add several other
considerations with respect to youth with disAbilities.
In summing up Neil suggested that you contact your Council for
assistance. Good advice, perhaps you could tell us WHICH ? Council -
since we might have some leads.
Check out "Advancement Committee, Policies and Procedures", #33088B,
Check out the Working With Scouts With disAbilities (WWSWd) website:
With respect to the limited information you provided about the Cub with
disAblities, It sounds like he is on the advancement track, and were it
not for his disAbilities this question would not arise.
It also sounds like his mom is supportive both parentally and as a
leader. Your Pack will probably lose her anyway - either because she'll
move along with her son, or because a negative response from your
Committee will cause conflict. I would suggest that she prepare herself
and get Scout Leader Training.
My predeliction is towards moving the boy into a mainstream Unit (though
in isolated cases, usually a residential school setting, a special needs
unit may be the "only game in town"). You wrote that the committee
wonders "Would it be in his best interest?". That is the WRONG
question. It is a paternalistic approach. The question should be: Does
he wish to move along/progress?
The boy, as he moves to a new (mainstream) unit, will also have certain
advantages. He can move along with his friends/peers who have, for
serveral years known and been with him. At such a "late" date it would
be devestating (and wrong) to isolate him, and would also send a bad
message to his peers.
The important thing is to prepare the new unit - leaders, youth, and
committee. Challenges are what we prepare the youth to meet, so to with
the adult leaders. Some of us call them: "opportunities".
My son insisted on becoming a Scout. He is disAbled and earned his
Eagle Rank at 22. He was/is in a mainstream high adventure unit. Some
things he did, some things he did differently, some things he didn't do
- but that holds true for everyone. We all choose our own paths. He
was not alone in being Exceptional/exceptional; he had exceptional and
supportive leaders (which should be "normal") in the unit, District, and
If you have any questions, please ask - and keep in touch.
> Date: Tue, 29 Feb 2000 17:28:38 -0500
> From: Jim Boyett <homepup@EARTHLINK.NET>
> Subject: Questions of age and rank
> We have a few situations that are causing heated debate in our committee.
> boy have to go to Boy Scouts? Would it be in his best interest?
> 2. Cub is in 4th grade, 10 years old, is mentally and physically
> handicapped, and 2 1/2 years behind his grade level. The cub will be
> getting his AoL within the next month or two and Mom, our Webelos I leader,
> wants to move him to Boy Scouts as soon as possible. He has cerebral
> palsy, is on crutches and will be having surgery in the near future. Should
> he move forward? If so should he join the regular troop or one for special
> Any assistance in the matters would be helpful as they are pulling our pack
> Debbie Boyett
> Bears Den Leader, Committee Secretary and Stand-in Cubmaster until one is
TO WHICH (IN PART) NEIL RESPONDED:
> Date: Tue, 29 Feb 2000 18:34:06 EST
> From: Neil Lupton <NeilLup@AOL.COM>
> Subject: Re: Questions of age and rank
> Basic principle #2
> When a youth is handicapped, and I believe this means mentally or physically,
> the Cub Scouting and Scouting programs can be modified to meet his unique
> needs. There are "boys" who have earned Cub Scout awards in their sixties
> because they have the mental age of Cub Scouts. The program is supposed to
> be tailored to the boy, not the other way around.
> So in your specific circumstances and it is possible that I will suggest
> something here which some other leader will correct.
> 1 - Boy is ALLOWED to go to Boy Scouts. However, since he has not yet
> completed 5th grade, he does not HAVE to. In fact, I believe he would be
> allowed to continue his registration as a Webelos Scout until the Pack
> reregistration after he completes the 5th grade. All this makes the
> assumption that my Basic Principle #2 is not called into play. If the boy
> is considered handicapped, then all such rules go by the wayside. Another
> question might be about his size relative to his peers in the Webelos Den.
> If you have a 200 pound 6 foot Webelos Scout, it might make matters more
> 2 - Difficult to generalize but Basic Principle #2 clearly applies. As far
> as whether he should go with a regular Troop or special needs Troop, that
> would likely depend a great deal on the attitude and capabilities and
> willingness of the regular Troop.
> If these matters are pulling your Pack apart, I might suggest that you get
> some involvement from your friendly neighborhood Commissioner. Also, from
> some of the boys you describe, if you have a special needs expert on your
> council staff (it would likely need to be one of the very big councils), get
> them involved.