scouts-l Mail Archive for April of 2000: Special Needs
Fri Apr 21 2000 - 08:15:07 CDT
Among other things, Scouting is (or at least should be) inclusive and
open to diversity.
There are official BSA and GSUSA policy and guidance regarding openness
to youth with disAbilities. The former Tiger "leader" can secure
information and support to learn about serving youth with disAbilities -
if she (?) is unwilling to do so, then IMO her departure is no loss to
Scouting (except to the extent her child may depart as well).
Hollyanne notes that despite the "leader's" difficulties the other youth
are accepting - and that's how it should be. What is needed are leaders
who are as understanding, embracing, and willing to learn.
Hollyanne and Pat - it would be good to know what Councils y'all are in
(perhaps some of us are aware of others experienced in serving youth
with disAbilities) so that we can help you network. Each Coucil should
have, at least, a professional who has Scouting for the disAbled as part
of his/her position description -- do contact your Council.
BSA also has an upcoming (annual) conference at its Philmont Training
Center (Cimmaron, NM) on Working With Scouts with disAbilities. It's
scheduled for June 18-24, and if you have the time and resources it
probably is not too late to enroll. If you're interested ask your
Council's Director of Programs for more information and an invitation.
It's a great location for a family vacation - your spouses and kids will
be kept busy having fun at a modest cost, and then you'll have the great
Southwest to enjoy as well.
Scouting cannot, realistically, address each syndrome nor provide advice
as to how to work with individual Scouts. But Scouting can, and does,
have overall guidance (though some of us feel that much of it could be
improved) to assist leaders who, in turn, can bring the opportunities
and challenges to the youth. And, no one out here can offer specific
advice (syndrome by syndrome) - we're neither credentialed nor know the
dynamics of the specific youth/parent/leader/etc. mix.
There is NOT only one way in Scouting. Its the youth, the parents, and
mentors, teachers, and health practitioners who can best advocate for
the individual (once they are aware of the policy), and help develop
alternative paths to success, which will make this all work.
GSUSA has an excellent publication: "Focus on Ability"; and, BSA has
several publications and policy (sometimes conflicting) scattered
through its literature. Again, check with your Councils. There is a
Website (disclosure: with which I'm involved) which focuses on Working
With Scouts With disAbilities
If you have any questions, don't hesitate asking.
> Well. I'm my son's wolf leader in part because his Tiger "leader" (who quit
> doing anything with the kids in Nov. last year) refused to do it if my son
> was going to be in the Pack. My son has Aspergers Syndrome (a high
> functioning form of autism) and ADHD.
> But what I have heard is actually quite the reverse. I do think there is a
> problem, but it is not BSA, GSUSA, or Scouting in general. From my
> experience I think Scouting is more willing to accept kids with disabilities
> than other groups. The Pack as a whole has been pretty accepting of my son,
> his ADHD den mate and the several other ADHD kids in the pack. My daughter
> is a Daisy Scout and her ADHD caused no one any problems at all.
and, Pat responded:
> We also have a scout in our troop that has Aspergers Syndrome. I would truly
> like to get information from other leaders who have scouts with Aspergers
> Syndrome in their troop.
> At this time I have been working with the scout's Mom to try to find a way to
> make the program beneficial and enjoyable for the scout. Unfortunately the
> scout publications dealing with disabilities don't address Aspergers
> Syndrome, a disability that can manifest itself in many different ways.
> Any help from the group?