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Scouts with autism spectrum disorders or Asperger's Syndrome

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  • Scouts with autism spectrum disorders or Asperger's Syndrome

    In addition to being the mom of a Boy Scout and a Cub Scout, and a non-Scout with Asperger's Syndrome (high-functioning autism), I'm also a freelance writer. I've done a couple of short pieces for Boys' Life, and just got my first assignment from Scouting magazine--an article on how leaders and parents can work together to help boys with Asperger's Syndrome or autism spectrum disorders to have a successful experience in Scouting.

    If you are the parent of a Scout with AS or autism (either Cub Scout or Boy Scout) or a leader who has worked with Scouts on the autism spectrum, and you feel you would like to share information with me on this subject (either for background, or as someone to be featured in the article) I'd love to hear from you, either on the forum or off-list (at JAYANDE@aol.com). My deadline is April 1, so I'd like to get my interviews completed by mid-March.

    Thanks so much.

    Elizabeth

  • #2
    I am new to this forum so just found this subject...which is also a pet subject of mine

    My oldest daughter is an Asperger's..2 other of my 5 kids are ADD kids and I am a Scoutmaster! Oh..and my husband happens to be a Pediatrician! Dealing with an Asperger's kid poses many many challenges that are unique due to their inability to handle or understand social cues. My daughter was terribly bullied through high school and very little was done about it...she was and is terribly scarred by that.

    In our troop, we have several boys with "issues" and I have been trying to explain to many of my adult leaders WHY we need to be patient with them...WHY we need to try and explain to the other "normal" boys that they need to accept these boys for who and what they are. We have one new scout who is a classic (undiagnosed) ADHD kid..he's in the other boys' faces..he is very affectionate so he touchs the other boys (not inappropriately though)..on campouts he can be a handful and requires a lot of supervision, etc. Some of my ASM's want to restrict him from campouts more because they don't want to really spend the time to learn how to effectively manage him. I hear "we're not social workers!"...which is true, but they can do things to learn how to better handle the situation. I've found with this boy that if you really talk to him and continue to express to him in a positive manner what he is doing, he will make an effort to comply..he may forget in 5 minutes and you have to tell him again, but he does try. The parents of "normal" kids just do not have the understanding that these kids and generally are not doing this stuff deliberately! I also get comments from other adults about these issues just being "Labels" and "excuses" for bad behavior..they, of course, do not have children with similar issues!

    One of my fellow Wood Badger's last year put together a program called "Dealing with a differently wired Scout" (or something like that) and she delivered it as a course at the council level. She brought in Developmental pediatrician, neurologist and other experts to try and explain things better. I would have loved to have had my entire adult leaders attend the program, but they see no need..

    Our scouts need to learn to respect ALL people no matter how different they are and I will not tolerate it if I hear any of my boys picking on another boy with a disability! Our adults need to take these developmental/other issues into consideration too when dealing with the boys. These boys are generally the ones who can get the most benefit from the scouting program and the boys who I want to keep active, to keep them off the streets and turning to other things with their impulsive behavior control issues. We CAN make a difference in these boys lives and we owe it to them to try!!

    down off my soapbox now!

    Sue M

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    • #3
      Does anyone know if Starwolfmom's article appeared in Scouting Magazine yet. I moved recently and was not getting the magazine for a few months. The issue she was supposed to write the article on has just flared up big time in my Troop and I am looking to answer some questions. Thanks!!!

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      • #4
        Maybe if you post your questions here you could get some answers.

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