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  • #16
    Dave doesn't want to point fingers but he does and he points only at the BSA. He wants the BSA to change, HE doesn't weaht to consider changing, he doesn't want leaders to change, or charter organizations to change, HE WANTS the BSA to change.

    And here is what he bases that on..."In leader training, no time is spent on how to accomodate special needs kids but instead lessons on how to be firm with their parents about how they may be too disruptive and interfere with the troop operation.

    That is an absolute fairy tale, and anyone who has actually taken Scout leader training knows it. There is nothing in any BSA training that even approaches what Dave accuses the BSA of.

    Dave I am sure has no knowledge of the scouts used in the photos he has seen and believes them fals only because they do not reflect the scouting he has been a part of in his local community. To assume that none in the hundreds opf thounds of units across the BSA never do a program that is different or better than the one in your local community is incredibly tunnelvisioned.

    Can some units do more absolutely, are there leaders who are simply not going to have the skills to serve scouts with special needs? of course, heck we have our leaders now who don't have the skills to serve scouts that don't have special needs.

    Can charter organizations doe more. Absolutely, they can look for and be open for opportiunities to serve special need scouts and make sure that their leaders have the knowledge and resources to serve them.

    Bit all of that is available right now, and all of those issues have been addressed by the BSA. The BSA has made training and program help available to units and leaders, they promote inclusion f special needs scouts at nearly every level of the program.

    So since we are not going to point fingers maybe Dave will stop pointing to the BSA and look locally (really local) like at his community, and inwardly, to seek changes that will help scout units serve all scouts better.(This message has been edited by Bob White)

    Comment


    • #17
      he doesn't want leaders to change, or charter organizations to change, HE WANTS the BSA to change.

      Yah, I think we have to try to remember that for an average parent, the understandin' of the difference between BSA National, separately incorporated BSA Councils, and wholly independent Charter Organizations and unit-level volunteers isn't well understood. I read AhoyDave as bein' frustrated with his experience, and not understandin' the difference between the BSA and his son's troop.

      Now here's da thing, though. I think we have to take criticism where it's due. The BSA's role is as resource provider. What resources does the BSA provide to unit-level adults confronted with an Autism Spectrum lad showin' up on their doorstep?

      There's no specific training on autistic/asperger's youth.
      There's no BSA commissioner trainin' specific to inclusion issues of autistic/asperger's youth.
      There's no BSA professional expertise or trainin'.
      Unless da CO or local council sets it up, there's no provision for a standing consulting body of medical & educational professionals to assist unit leaders or districts confronted with inclusion issues.
      Unless da CO or local council sets it up, there's no clearinghouse for support resources.
      etc.

      Da problem is when dealin' with inclusion of a challenged lad, a generic pamphlet or training that tries to talk about "disabilities" in general just doesn't cut it. Different disabilities require very different types of support.

      There's a lot of room for BSA to improve here. And they're workin' on it slowly, eh? I think there's now a supplementary module that tries to address da specific needs of ADD/ADHD kids, for example. But I reckon some criticism and "call to action" isn't unfair.

      AhoyDave, I hope yeh now understand a bit from all of us that your broad-brush criticism may be a bit unfair too, eh? Individual troops are separately owned and operated, and have different resources. BSA doesn't have direct control over 'em. Their capabilities are as strong or as weak as the adult volunteers they have available, eh? Some troops run spectacular high adventure, other's can't. Some troops like OGE's have great depth of resource dealin' with physically challenged kids (the boys' physician on staff!!), others have adults who have no experience with handicapped youth and no idea how to proceed. When yeh talk about unit leaders in your son's troop avoidin' him, I imagine adults like that, eh? Not bad people, just folks who aren't equipped and don't know what to do. They didn't exclude your son, eh? They just didn't know how to do the best job by him.

      Beavah

      Comment


      • #18
        "I think we have to try to remember that for an average parent, the understandin' of the difference between BSA National, separately incorporated BSA Councils, and wholly independent Charter Organizations and unit-level volunteers isn't well understood."

        AhoyDave is this the problem? IS beavah correct in saying that you do not know the difference between the BSA and a unit volunteer? I ask because you said thta you were in scouting for many years and you even said you knew what was taught in the training courses?

        "There's no specific training on autistic/asperger's youth.
        There's no BSA commissioner trainin' specific to inclusion issues of autistic/asperger's youth.
        There's no BSA professional expertise or trainin'.
        Unless da CO or local council sets it up, there's no provision for a standing consulting body of medical & educational professionals to assist unit leaders or districts confronted with inclusion issues.
        Unless da CO or local council sets it up, there's no clearinghouse for support resources.
        etc.

        You are joking right?
        There is no specifc training on Muscular Dystropy either...or on Tourettes, or on visual or audio impairment, or on Spina Bifida, or on Downs Syndrome, or on any of the HUNDREDS of other possible individual and symptomatically unique problems that a scout aged youth could have.

        How on earth could anyone logically or thoughtfully expect that the BSA would have a specific training, or a specific program, or specific resources, for EVERYT possible health condition there is.

        To try and cast blame on the BSA for that is outrageous.

        You want a call to action...get trained! if you are a unit leader and have a scout with a specific problem, communicate with the parent and learn how you can best serve that scout. Take some responsibility for your job as the "leader", and if you need more resources call upon the parents and the unit committee for help.

        God gave parents and volunteers hearts and brains, stop blaming the BSA national office if you do not bother to use either of them.






        Comment


        • #19

          You are joking right?
          There is no specifc training on Muscular Dystropy either...or on Tourettes, or on visual or audio impairment, or on Spina Bifida, or on Downs Syndrome, or on any of the HUNDREDS of other possible individual and symptomatically unique problems that a scout aged youth could have.

          Nope, not jokin'.

          I think our business in da BSA is providin' training and service for the hardworkin' folks in the units. If a UC comes to me with info on a troop that needs support in some area, I think it's our job to help provide that support. That's why we put all those "community contacts" on Executive Boards, eh?

          For conditions like ADHD and Autism Spectrum that have become so common that a significant number of units (and every single council) are dealin' with 'em, I think we have to be more efficient in providing those resources. Ad hoc doesn't cut it when it comes to higher volume stuff.

          Of course National agrees with that criticism, because that's exactly what they've started doin', eh? Beginning with da work on ADHD. I think yeh can expect to see materials on Autism Spectrum from National in the future, especially in light of da suit against the BSA in California.

          Beavah

          Comment


          • #20
            "I think our business in da BSA is providin' training and service for the hardworkin' folks in the units.

            Fair enough...you go write individual training and program manuals for EVERY POSSIBLE health condition that a scout might have. Call us when you are done.

            Comment


            • #21
              This whole thread is disturbing. I haven't seen this level of arguing, finger pointing, and immaturity since...well, I left school today.

              Instead of fighting and arguing, try looking between the lines. I see frustration and good intentions gone awry.

              I guess I'm spoiled. I'm the Special Needs Trainer for my district and have begun teaching and training at the district level as well as Pow Wow and University of Scouting. Our Special Needs program is phenomenal and am quite proud.

              I'm a firm believer in training thyself. Seek your answers. Go to district, go to council, and push. Every boy should be given a chance to be a scout and every leader should do whatever is in their power to help that boy achieve his dream.

              tagguy and ahoydave, if you'd like to PM about any suggestions or advice, please feel free.

              Comment


              • #22
                Dawnydiesel,
                just for my info...
                What Special needs courses/areas do you have training courses available for?
                Of those, which are Official/National BSA syllabi?

                I agree with the train thyself philosophy - in terms of seeking out the training one needs i.e. the Boys want to go rock climbing - take Climb on Safely and manage the rest of the safety issues accordingly. You AGREE to take on a Special Needs Scout, talk to the parents and do a little research.
                And that every Scouter should get Trained - especially since BSA does make allowances for different training for different positions.

                But I don't agree that a parent should walk in the door and widely disapprove of Scouters who do the above - but haven't yet seen the need to learn about another parent's child's specific DSM-IV-TR diagnosis, which alone lists over 290 possible disorders(297?). Especially since the DSM in NO way covers the entire spectrum of Special needs Scouts. It doesn't even touch physical(non-psychology related) issues. And even familiarity with the DSM doesn't give me access to the inside information on their child's specific issues that would help me serve their child. Their help and school of hard knocks knowledge of their child and their communication- not complaint - might assist a Scouter in aiding their situation and encourage them to be willing to do so.

                I also don't think a the parent of a Special Needs Scout(or prospective Scout)should get to walk in the door and EXPECT/DEMAND that THAT Troop will be able to meet their needs. Even if it degrades the program they are trying to run for the rest of the Scouts.

                I may think differently if I were the only game in town but in my situation there are plenty of Troops to select from. I am actually open to Special Needs Scouting(is that a recognized term?) but the Troop I serve is currently not yet in a state to service "differently abled" folks. But the demanding voice of some posters could turn off some VOLUNTEERS who already carry heavy loads trying to service their Troops.
                And if posters who think those programs need to be available, choose to quit Scouting rather than build bridges then why should those of us who are still working pick up their torch? Especially as they bark at us going out the door...

                I point out once again that while MY child happens to be doing well and is currently off of meds.(and I understand that every condition doesn't have the possibility of resolving and that I, and my child are fortunate), I have dealt with his ADD/ADHD diagnosis and did the research to understand his condition and have regularly met with his teachers and prior Scout leaders to discuss effective ways to engage(and hold) his attention.
                You have to do your due diligence as a parent before you can expect volunteer leaders of an organization to take on your cause.(This message has been edited by Gunny2862)

                Comment


                • #23
                  There seems to be some misunderstanding about where my experience comes from. I have been a registered scouter for 15 years, the last 10 as an ASM, beginning before my autistic son was a tiger. As a kid, a temporary move overseas interrupted my own scout career. My plans to restart it when I returned at age 12 ended when a good friend was killed on a scout troop hike falling through thin ice. My concern over the wellbeing of my kids and requests from parents to be a role model for their kids led me to be involved at the beginning of my older son's scouting. As I said before, in all that time, I have not seen any training concerning special needs scouts yet have experienced training concerning being firm with parents about kids that don't fit in. I have had parents ask me to intervene on behalf of their kids with disabilities both physical and mental for various dens and troops. In one very visible case, I was asked by a leader to defend her against parents of a disabled kid in a hearing with the district commissioner. In the end, I had convinced the parents to become registered scouters and their son eventually earned his eagle but those who helped him did so because of who they were, not because BSA policy encouraged it. The hearing made it pretty clear, BSA was not in the kid's corner. I agree, BSA is not capable of dealing with all the nuances of the variety of challenges some kids have but there is also no formal recognition or encouragement for scouts or scouters to put out the effort to help. The emphasis is on keeping different kids from disrupting the operation of the troop, in effect, discouraging different kids from being in the program. When BSA uses the visible examples of say wheel chair bound scouts in its PR, I feel the truth is being bent.

                  Comment


                  • #24
                    What Special needs courses/areas do you have training courses available for?

                    We offer Intro to ADD/ADHD, Intro to Autism, Overview and Rank Advancement, Hands on/Role Play, Managing Youth Behavior, Scouts on Wheels, Bipolar, Leading the ADD/ADHD Scout, Leading the Autistic Scout, Deafness, Blindness, and ISAP courses.

                    As for "official" BSA syllabi, we use the special Needs/Disability manual when needed. I would assume the courses/trainings are official as we teach and train at all levels. I've given my workshops and presentations at the den, pack, district and council level along at various summer camps.

                    Comment


                    • #25
                      AhoyDave, you state "but there is also no formal recognition or encouragement for scouts or scouters to put out the effort to help."
                      I need only to point to my willingness (albeit when I get some current issues with the Troop taken care of)to work with Special needs Scouts I feel capable of working with and to dawnydiesels list of courses to answer your statement. There isn't formal recognition of doing your good turn daily either but it doesn't mean it isn't important to Scouting or Scouts or Scouters.

                      BSA is working on it.
                      Leaders want to help boys, if we can.

                      But if you truly feel strongly about the situation after your career(so far) in Scouting, then join in as a Commissioner and focus on Special Needs issues with your Council/ grow that into a concern for National. Don't just gripe about Leaders at the Troop level and BSA as a whole and then run off condemning those of us who are doing what we can, while you abandon the issue.

                      Comment


                      • #26
                        I am at a loss to understand how anyone would extrapolate that I am critical of those who put out the extra effort. I posted my experience in the hope to change what I perceive as a somewhat callus policy at the national level that does nothing to encourage extra effort. Something as simple as recruiting a friend will earn a patch but putting out effort to accommodate special needs kids will earn nothing unless individual leaders create some recognition.

                        I don't expect BSA to have training that could hope to cover the array of nuances of special needs kids. I am surprised to hear about some training curricula here although the earlier links do not work. None of my searches over the years have turned up anything.

                        As for finding another troop, its a bit late for that. My son's troop had kids that cared and put out effort but over time, those scouts aged out, dropped out, or moved. Kids and the parents behind them want advancement productivity and there is no benefit in the scouting program from helping an older "different" kid they don't understand. Now that he is 18, I can reflect back on his scouting career in total. Kind of like a buds, thorns and roses after a camp. I would like to make it clear, my issues have not been limited to my son's troop. Many occurred at summer camps and camporees. My son was twice elected to OA and those involved in the ceremonies were instructed in actions that could frighten and panic my son yet it took intervention to prevent a train wreck at tap out. I opted not to take him though ordeal since despite BSA policy, to an autistic kid, much of the process would be harassment. As a result, my son did not "earn" his arrow sash.

                        It seems that some here assume I was one of those parents who dump their kids on scouting and leave then grip when something didn't go right. Any such assumption would be completely wrong. Perhaps I should have dropped my son off to challenge the troop into paying attention but my son's behavior would never elicit attention. People pay attention to the squeaky wheel, not the silent one. I have to be the squeaky wheel. A suggestion was made that I expand my role in scouting as some one-issue volunteer and still somehow expect to rise to some level of importance in an organization of 1,500,000 people to effect my one-issue agenda. It makes a lot more sense to address my concerns in a discussion forum such as this one and continue to invest my volunteer efforts elsewhere.

                        Comment


                        • #27
                          Ahoydave,

                          1st, I have to respectfully disagree with many of the accusations that you have made.

                          1. Have you read the latest "Scouting for youth with Disabilities Manual" If not, I suggest you do. It was released Oct of 2007.

                          2. Have you attended The Philmont training center" and taken the course on special needs scouting. Its going on this week there.

                          3. Are you an active member of your councils Special Needs committee? If not, why. If your council does not have one, why did you not start one. You will find the step by step proceedures to start one on page 9 of the manual referenced above. Be part of the solution!!!!!!!!!!!

                          4. Have you attended the St. Louis are council's special needs training? I have a pretty good hunch that our friend Dawnydiesel that posted above may know a tad bit about St. Louis area council's program.

                          5. I noticed that someone pointed out in the last post that you claimed that "but there is also no formal recognition or encouragement for scouts or scouters to put out the effort to help." Again, not correct. Our council has a program called the "Champions" buddy program. I've promoted it around the country and currently, The Denver area council, Norther Star Council, Chicago Council, and several others have adopted it. In fact, its being promoted and talked about at the Philmont training center during the special needs course this week. If that's not at the "National Level" what is? Contact me directly if you would like a brochure on how the program works. My goal is to promote it and have it used nationwide.

                          6. Please identify the things you have done to futher the ability of your local unit, district, council, region and national to better serve youth with special needs.

                          7. You also state "In leader training, no time is spent on how to accomodate special needs kids" Again not true. Please read page 130 of the Scoutmaster handbook.

                          8. You also state "My autistic son is about to turn 18 and I do NOT plan to continue my involvement with scouts." I might suggest being active rather than quiting. It may be that you are in the situation you are in at your unit level because the leader before you said the same thing. Try and make some change. Maybe you could be the special needs chairman for your unit?

                          9. You also state" I think the worst salt in the wound is the disabilities merit badge. Is anybody in scouting really aware of disabilities they can't see? Worst, I really don't think any are interested. Draw a picture of a wheel chair, get a badge."
                          Yes, many folks, including scouters are aware of disabilities they can't see. And you don't think any are interested, Please!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
                          Being a Disabilities awareness MB counselor, I have the book in front of me and could find no where that drawing a picture of a wheel chair gets you the MB. In fact I have a group of Boy Scouts coming from seven different Councils today, about 150- 200 strong to volunteer all day today and Saturday for our annual picnic for disabled adults and children. We will have over 1000 there with severe mental and physical disabilities. Most 90% plus have no family, have been disowned and are wards of the State. I've arranged for the Boy Scouts to running games, serve food, etc. At the end of each day I will be running a Disabilites Awareness MB clinic. And you say scouts are not interested. Please take a real look around, you might be surprised at what you really see. Oh, by the way, I earned what was then called The Handicap Awareness MB in 1981 as a youth. I'm kinda proud of that, in fact it was one of the reasons I'm doing what I do today with special needs scouting.

                          I happen to be heavily involved with the special needs program in our council, serving 1236 special needs scouts, both tradition and non-tradtional age. Many of your comments are a slap in the face to us scouters who are there for youth like your son. I do not have any special needs children of my own. I just like to help children like yours.

                          Comment


                          • #28
                            AhoyDave, If I misjudged the intent of your statements, I apologize. However, it appears that you are pointing out systemic and pervasive callous behaviour from Scouters towards Special needs Scouts and seemed to be using a wide brush to do so.
                            In my, albeit limited, experience with Scouting I have consistently seen accomodation made as soon as the need was known.
                            In my, limited expeience, the biggest issue is people who know about a condition with a Scout who don't share the info until after there is an incident. i.e. at last weeks Cub Scout day camp I was the Rangemaster for the BB range. A child with Aspergers was brought into the range with no warning to me. After a safety lecture and the pin/loop info this child wound up in an untenable position re: his BB Gun and another childs head. I still would have acted quickly but may not have been as loud or sharp. As it was I got called on the carpet by his walking leaders for upsetting him. Only one incident but after I knew I was able to work with him and get some BB's downrange- which was what the Scout was worried about. The other 10 or so Special needs Scouts were identifiedto me in advance by their leaders and got a little more help or supervision as needed. They all seemed pleased with their participation.

                            Comment


                            • #29
                              When I proposed an article to Scouting magazine back in 2006 about how troops/packs can help boys with autism and Asperger's be successful in their units, I had to lobby long and hard that it was a needed article. The editor didn't really think so, but eventually he assigned the story to me. This is it:

                              http://www.scoutingmagazine.org/issues/0609/a-boys.html

                              A month or so later, the editor contacted me, because that story generated more letters to the editor than just about any story they had ever run. A couple of those letters are here (scroll down):

                              http://www.scoutingmagazine.org/issues/0611/d-lett.html

                              Certainly not every unit or every district or council will have the resources to work with families of boys on the autism spectrum, but many are trying. Here are just two of several pages that came up when I googled "Scouts with autism":

                              http://usscouts.org/netresources/autism.htm

                              http://www.bsa-gwrc.org/district/wp/adult-trng/ADD_handout.html

                              The troop to which my sons belong had very active Scout with autism and mental retardation. Everyone in the troop worked well with him and he was included in everything. In fact, he was often the one showing newer/younger Scouts the basics. He was with the troop until he was 21 or 22, and earned Eagle.

                              My son with Asperger's is NOT a Scout, but that was his choice, and not the result of a poor Scouting experience.

                              Elizabeth

                              Comment


                              • #30
                                4. Have you attended the St. Louis are council's special needs training? I have a pretty good hunch that our friend Dawnydiesel that posted above may know a tad bit about St. Louis area council's program.

                                Your hunch would be more than correct. I'm in the Greater St. Louis area and our council's program is amazing.

                                I hate to sound all braggy but we deal with even more special needs than what I listed. We just had our special needs camp last weekend and even though we had tornadoes and our scouts didn't camp overnight, it was still a great turnout. I'm pretty proud to be a part of this program.

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